Rocks and Metal

Articles in September 2014

September 2nd, 2014
Retired firefighter and metal-detector enthusiast Mike Cogan made the “find of a lifetime” when he scooped up two platinum-and-diamond rings from the beach at Robert Moses State Park on Long Island on August 6.

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The first was a three-stone engagement ring with a 1.3-carat round center diamond, and the other was a wedding band adorned with small round diamonds all the way around. A local jeweler told Cogan that the engagement ring alone was worth more than $13,000.

But, instead of keeping the bounty for himself, he decided to do the right thing and attempt to find the owner.

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Two days earlier, mom-of-three Erin Carrozzo was enjoying an outing with her little ones on the same beach when she removed her rings to apply sunscreen.

She got distracted when she had to run down her three-year-old boy, and didn’t realize her rings were missing until they all got back to the car later in the day. Carrozzo went back to the beach to search the sand, but her rings were nowhere to be found.

The 41-year-old mom reported the rings lost to beach authorities and cried on the ride home to Flushing, NY.

"I felt like all the blood drained out of my head," she told Newsday. "That's the only way I could describe it."

On August 7, accepting harsh reality that she would probably never see her rings again, Carrozzo used Facebook to express her anguish. She bid farewell to her engagement ring. "You were a part of me all day every day for 11 years," she wrote, adding that she hoped that the ring would eventually be found by some lovestruck couple who could use it to begin their lives together.

She also made an ironic comment about "some broke metal detector dude" making a "couple of bucks off of you." Fortunately, her description did not define the fine character of Mr. Cogan.

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The 66-year-old Cogan told NBC 4 New York that he noticed immediately how precious the rings were. “This isn't a kid's ring,” he said. “This is platinum and these have to be real diamonds. I knew how empty she had to feel. I don't want anybody to feel like that, so I started my search."

His first strategy was to create a lost-and-found item on Craigslist. When that didn’t work, the resident of East Northport, NY, turned to Facebook.

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On August 21, he posted a photo of the wedding band (but not the engagement ring) with a caption that read: “I found this ring on a Long Island beach. It is real. There is an inscription on the inside. If all my L.I. friends share this picture with their L.I. friends, then maybe I can find the owner.”

Cogan’s initial post was shared more than 19,000 times, especially among the Long Island-based mommy groups.

Later that same day, a Facebook friend alerted Carrozzo to a photo of the wedding band. "I was like, oh my God, that does look like my ring!" Carrozzo told Newsday.

Carrozzo phoned Cogan and explained that she had lost two rings, but was happy to get the band back. Then Cogan revealed he had found the engagement ring, too.

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Cogan triumphantly posted this message on his Facebook page: “RING OWNER HAS BEEN FOUND! Not only did she give a positive ID and location but she said she also lost her engagement ring. I didn't post about the ER but I will be returning it also. She is a happy camper. Thanks everyone who shared and posted on Long Island Moms and then to Modern Families.”

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On Thursday, August 28, Cogan and Carrozzo got to meet in person at the same beach where the rings were lost. With an NBC television crew on hand, Cogan returned the rings to their rightful owner. The retired firefighter asked Carrozzo to close her eyes as he placed both the engagement ring and the wedding band in her hands.

“Doesn’t that feel good?” he asked.

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The two exchanged an emotional hug, and Carrozzo told an NBC reporter that she was “amazed how much good there is in the world.”

"This man hit the jackpot, and he chose to hunt me down," she told Newsday. "And I can't thank him enough."

Screen captures: NBC 4 New York

 
 
September 3rd, 2014
Dubbed the “Purple Orchid,” the 3.37-carat fancy intense pinkish-purple cushion-cut gem in your gaze is an extraordinarily rare natural diamond.

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Purple diamonds of this clarity, size and color intensity rarely appear in nature. They come along once in a generation and demand the highest premiums. This stone is valued at $4 million, or about $1.18 million per carat.

Israeli diamond company Leibish & Co. will introduce the Purple Orchid to the world during the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. The gem, which has a clarity rating of VS2, was cut from a 4-plus-carat rough diamond sourced from the Kimberley Mine in South Africa. The diamond was carefully polished over a three-month period.

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Leibish reports that purple diamonds can be found in only three locations worldwide — South Africa, Russia and Brazil. While Russia’s purple diamonds have overtones of blue and Brazil’s purple diamonds tend to have a hint of orange, the purples and intense pinkish purples from South Africa display the absolute best brilliance and purple sparkle, according to Leibish.

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Appropriately, the Purple Orchid’s 2014 debut coincides neatly with Radiant Orchid’s reign as Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year. The global color authority described Radiant Orchid as “a captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones.”

What makes purple diamonds purple is still a scientific mystery. It's been established that a yellow diamond gets its dazzling color from minute traces of nitrogen in the diamond’s chemical composition and a blue diamond gets its color from boron. When it comes to purple, scientists suspect hydrogen as the stray element, but they're not so sure.

“The cause of purple in diamonds remains a mystery, which only adds to the glamour and attractiveness of diamonds like these,” said Leibish Polnauer, the president of Leibish & Co.
September 4th, 2014
Slowly open the super-slim “Clifton” ring box by Canadian packaging designer Andrew Zo and watch the engagement ring pirouette like a ballet dancer.

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Just one centimeter thick and smaller than a wallet, the “Clifton” leather-bound box is cleverly designed with a special ring-shaped inset that protects the jewelry when the box is closed and an origami-inspired holder that twirls the ring a quarter turn when the box is opened.

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A Huffington Post reviewer called the design “genius” and a headline writer noted that this fresh take on the traditional ring box was a “game changer.”

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The bulbous shape of a traditional ring box has challenged men for generations. When planning to pop the question, there was no hiding the telltale ring-box bulge in their shirt or pants pocket.

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Zo decided to solve the problem as a student of Emily Carr University, an art and design school in Vancouver, B.C. Not only was Zo able to come up with a way to make the box much thinner, but he was also able to translate his love of origami into an animated display.

While his student project earned accolades, the product was not commercially viable. Zo has worked for the past three years to refine the “Clifton” and prepare it for market.

Starting at $90, Zo’s ring box might seem pricey to some. He reasons, however, that for anyone spending $5,000, $10,000 or more on an engagement ring, the additional cost is negligible — and worth it.

The Vancouver-based Zo currently sells the “Clifton” on his website, but it seems as if all his recent publicity has compromised his site’s ability to process online orders. A “thank you” message at clifton.andrewzo.com explains that the site is experiencing overwhelming demand and that online ordering capabilities will return in October.

For now, purchase inquiries should be directed to Zo at this email address: hello@andrewzo.com.
September 5th, 2014
Welcome to Music Friday when we love to revitalize long-forgotten tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. In Elvis Costello’s “The Element Within Her,” the singer-songwriter-poet uses precious gems to describe a girl who is radiant on the inside and out.

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He sings, “It's the element within her / Something under her skin / That is shining out through the face of the girl / Two sapphires and couple of rows of pearls.”

Taken literally, the two sapphires could represent sparkling blues eyes, while the rows of pearls might symbolize the brilliant white teeth of a dazzling smile. (Yes, the timing of this song is perfect because September's official birthstone is sapphire.)

Elvis Costello and the Attractions released “The Element Within Her” in 1983 as the fourth track of their album, Punch the Clock. The album met with moderate success as it reached #24 on the U.S. Billboard Pop Albums chart.

Even though “The Element Within Her” never charted as a single, the song has been included on many of Costello’s set lists. According to a Costello fan site, “Element” was first performed live in London in 1983, and the last time fans enjoyed it live was in Chicago in 2011.

Born in London in 1954, Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus became Elvis Costello when his manager, Jake Riviera, suggested that he merge Elvis Presley’s first name with Costello, which was his dad’s stage name.

Costello is credited with being a pioneer of the British punk and new wave movements in the mid-to-late 1970s. Costello and The Attractions were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Costello #80 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

We hope you enjoy Costello’s performance of “The Element Within Her.” The video and lyrics are below. Please note that the length of the song is actually 2:50, not 12:25 as seen on the video's timeline.

“The Element Within Her”
Written and performed by Elvis Costello.

It's the element within her
Something under her skin
That is shining out through the face of the girl
Two sapphires and couple of rows of pearls
It's just a part of it
Like your fine tresses
You know what my guess is
La la la la la la la la la la la

It's the element within her
Something under her skin
That is shining out through the face of the girl
Two sapphires and couple of rows of pearls

And he was a playboy
Could charm the birds right out of the trees
Now he says, “What do I do with these?”
La la la la la la la la la la la

This love in my heart
Let no one set asunder
Sometimes I wonder
La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la

But back in the bedroom
With her electric heater
He says, “Are you cold?”
She says, “No, but you are la…”
La la la la la la la, la la la la la la la la la
It's the element within her
La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la la
It's the element within her
La la la la la la la la la
It's the element within her
La la la la la la la la la
It's the element within her
La la la la la la la la la
Oh, it’s the element within…

September 8th, 2014
What was supposed to be a romantic “engagement weekend” adventure to the top of Wyoming’s Black Tooth Mountain turned into a chilling six-day test of survival for a couple who got stranded on a cliff at 12,500 feet. To keep warm, the couple was forced to use the engagement ring box as kindling.

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The couple's horrifying ordeal and eventual rescue was the subject of featured segment on Friday's edition of ABC's Good Morning America.

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Blake Fuhriman, a 23-year-old former Army Ranger from Sheridan, Wyoming, thought it would be a great idea to take his girlfriend, Alissa DeVille, 26, on a hike to the top of Black Tooth Mountain in Bighorn National Forest, where he would pull out an engagement ring and surprise the love of his life with an unforgettable marriage proposal from the highest of heights.

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Black Tooth Mountain as viewed from the summit of Cloud Peak. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

At 9 a.m. on Friday, August 29, the couple set out on a climb that was scheduled to take just a day. All they carried were their daypacks and the clothes on their backs. Fuhriman told ABC News that as they moved up the mountain and the terrain got more and more treacherous it became clear they could not return via the route they came. Fuhriman, who honed his survival skills while serving in the U.S. Army, was betting that once they hit the summit, they could choose a safer path for their descent.

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Instead of finding the summit, however, the couple ended up stranded on a narrow patch of land near a cliff.

Even though they were forced to spend an unintended frigid night on the ledge, Fuhriman still went through with his marriage proposal.

“About 9 p.m., on Friday night we were sitting on the cliff ledge,” Fuhriman told ABC News. “I pulled the ring out and said, ‘While I can’t get on my knee because I’m scared I’ll fall off the cliff, will you marry me?’ And she said, ‘Yes.’”

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On Saturday, the couple attempted to make their descent, but the terrain proved too dangerous. On their way back up, DeVille twisted her ankle, forcing them to stay put and hope for a rescue. The couple was unable to call for help because of poor cell service, at first, and then a depleted phone battery.

With freezing evening temperatures and no food or water, Fuhriman and DeVille used the few resources they had available to survive. They melted snow for water and scavenged for kindling. Among the things they burned were the cargo pockets off Furhriman’s pants and the empty box that held DeVille’s engagement ring.

By Monday, search-and-rescue officials, along with the couple’s friends and relatives, had been alerted to the emergency and set out to find them.

Fuhriman said that he saw search planes going overhead 10 to 15 times, but he and his fiancée were not seen.

Fuhriman told ABC News that, by Wednesday, the couple was hallucinating and suffering from the effects of hypothermia.

Throughout the ordeal, Fuhriman and DeVille remained committed to each other and their relationship. Said Fuhriman, “Every day we were up there, I asked her if she wanted to throw the ring off the cliff and she kept it on.”

Now six days into the ordeal and fearing they wouldn’t be able to survive another night, the couple decided that Fuhriman would make the descent on his own, while leaving the injured DeVille behind.

“When I said goodbye, I just felt awful leaving her there, but I knew if I didn’t we would die up there,” Fuhriman said. “I knew if I could get down, we could save us.”

Three hours later, exhausted and dehydrated, Fuhriman had found a base camp manned by the Johnson County Sheriff’s search team, which included Civil Air Patrol, the Army National Guard, and volunteers from Johnson, Washakie and Sheridan counties. DeVille was soon rescued and taken to a local hospital to treat her injuries.

The couple now shares an engagement proposal story that will be one for the ages.
September 9th, 2014
A cache of blingy gold and silver jewelry hidden by a wealthy Roman woman nearly two millennia ago was unearthed recently during a department store site excavation in the historic British town of Colchester.

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The treasure, which has been dated to the year 61AD, provides examples of what the best-dressed women of the day were wearing. Among the items were three gold armlets, a silver armlet, silver chain necklace, two silver bracelets, four gold rings and two sets of gold earrings. Also found was a bag of Roman coins and a small jewelry box.

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Experts from the Colchester Archaeological Trust surmised that the wealthy Roman woman hastily buried her valuables in the floor of her home due to a feared invasion by native Britons. The military campaign, which ultimately failed to wrest control from the Romans, was to be known as the Boudican Revolt.

Physical evidence, including scorched food items and broken human bones, tells a harrowing story of a home that was burnt to the ground during the violent rebellion.

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The surprising find, which the Colchester Archaeological Trust is calling the finest discovery of Roman jewelry in British history, would have been lost forever had it not been for excavation work related to the $48 million expansion of the upscale Colchester department store, Williams & Griffin. The store offers everything from furniture to fashion (Yes, they sell fine jewelry) and is located about 65 miles northeast of London.

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“We have been working on the site for six months, and this remarkable Roman jewelry collection was discovered on the third to last day of our dig,” Colchester Archaeological Trust director Philip Crummy told the East Anglian Daily Times.

According to NBC News, the department store’s owner, Fenwick Ltd., is planning to donate the Roman hoard (now called the “Fenwick Treasure”) to the local Colchester Castle Museum. Colchester has the distinction of being the oldest town in Britain.

Jewelry photos: Colchester Archaeological Trust 
September 10th, 2014
The new Apple Watch can manage your fitness, monitor your heartbeat, plan your diet, check your stocks, connect with social media, give you directions, unlock the door of your hotel room — and, oh yes, tell you the time.

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Introduced yesterday by Apple CEO Tim Cook, the Apple Watch represents the next “product revolution” at Apple and is seen as a game-changer in the burgeoning wearable-tech category.

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The high-end version, called “Apple Watch Edition,” is available in 18-karat yellow or rose gold and features a sapphire crystal, ceramic back, leather band and magnetic clips.

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It also comes in a standard model and more rugged sports model, with options for bands made of colorful rubber or stainless steel. The watches are available in two face sizes, 38mm and 42mm.

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Because the face is a teeny Retina display, the user can choose on the fly between multiple watch faces, including a throwback Mickey Mouse motif or a moon-phase astronomy-themed version. Packed inside the watch case is a heart-rate sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, photosensor, speaker and vibrating mechanism that cues the user to make a turn when using a map app. Already on the way are third-party apps from companies such as Nike, BMW, Pinterest, Facebook and others.

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Although the watch face can act as a touch-screen, the Apple Watch includes a primary interface called a “digital crown.” Resembling the crown of a conventional watch, the digital version can be manipulated to control zoom and scrolling, and to make selections from a cloud of “bubble” apps on the screen.

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The Apple Watch, which has a starting price of $349 and will be available in early 2015, cannot stand alone. It must be paired with an iPhone 5 or higher. Because it can leverage the power of the iPhone, the Apple Watch can commandeer such functions as GPS, Wi-Fi and the Siri digital assistant.

The Apple Watch features an innovative wireless magnetic charger that clips to the back of the device. Pricing for the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition has yet to be disclosed.

Twenty-five percent of American adults plan to buy a so-called "wearable" tech device in the next year, and 42% are interested in a wrist-based device, according Forrester, an independent technology and market research company.
September 11th, 2014
The famed Cullinan mine in South Africa continues to produce a parade of mind-numbing rough diamonds, including this 232-carat D-color stunner that’s the size of a strawberry and has the potential to sell in the range of $20 million.

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Petra Diamonds, which owns and operates the Cullinan Mine, reported that the colorless diamond is rated Type II, which means it has no measurable nitrogen impurities.

Petra spokesperson Cathy Malins told JCKOnline.com that "the diamond is practically see-through, so it is very likely to produce a flawless stone.”

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The mining company expects to sell the rough diamond sometime between October and December.

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Petra’s mammoth find, which looks like a remnant of an ice sculpture, is the largest colorless diamond to come from the Cullinan mine since 2009, when it yielded the 507-carat Cullinan Heritage.

The London-based Petra Diamonds has had a run of incredibly good fortune in 2014. Back in February, we reported that Petra sold an “exceptional” acorn-sized 29.6-carat vivid blue rough diamond to luxury jeweler Cora International for $25.6 million.

Only last month, Cora showed off the transformation of that rough diamond — sourced at Cullinan — into a 12-carat internally flawless cushion-cut masterpiece named “Blue Moon.” On Saturday, that stone will be headlining a 16-week exhibition at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

In mid-June, Petra unveiled a 122.52-carat blue rough diamond found at the Cullinan mine. Analysts said at the time that it could sell for more than $35 million and set a new record.

The recent spate of newsworthy diamonds coming from the Cullinan mine is hardly impressive when compared to the granddaddy of them all — the 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond, which was found in 1905 and eventually segmented into the stones that are part of the British Crown Jewels. These include the Great Star of Africa (Cullinan I) at 530.4 carats and the Second Star of Africa (Cullinan II) at 317.4 carats.

(Photos courtesy of Petra Diamonds)

September 12th, 2014
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring your great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. In honor of September’s official birthstone, we present Stevie Nicks singing her 2001 release, “Bombay Sapphires,” an emotional ballad that shines the spotlight on precious gemstones, not the famous gin.

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In this song about moving on after a turbulent relationship, Nicks sings, “It's like Bombay Sapphires / Hey, I can take you higher / Whatever you desire / I can mend your heart.”

“Bombay Sapphires” generated a bit of confusion when it was released as the 11th track on Nicks’ critically acclaimed Trouble in Shangri-La album. Was she referencing exotic blue gemstones or Bacardi’s popular premium gin?

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Nicks answered the question directly in a 2001 interview with In News Weekly. “Has the liquor company called to say ‘thank you’ and did they send over some product? No they haven’t. It’s not Bombay Sapphire. It’s Bombay Sapphires,” she said.

Nicks further explained that she got the idea for the song many years prior to its release when she was chatting with friends about jewelry and gemstones, particularly rubies and Bombay sapphires.

“It’s like a like a blue-gray kind of star sapphire thing,” she said. “It's the color of the ocean, and that's what I wrote it about. And I purposely put the 'S' on it so that they wouldn't think I was writing about gin.”

According to a Stevie Nicks fan site, the artist wrote “Bombay Sapphires” in 1999 while on vacation in Hawaii. She was apparently coming off an emotional breakup with on-again, off-again love interest Lindsey Buckingham and was ready to move on with her life.

In a vh1.com interview from 2001, Nicks said Hawaii’s beautiful beaches inspired her to write the line “I can see past you to the white sand.”

“That sentence right there is the whole reason for Bombay Sapphires,” she told vh1. “It means that I'm really trying to get over something, and though I'm freaked out about it... I can see past all of these problems to the incredibly beautiful white sand and the ocean beyond it. It's really important for me to tell people that if they're in an unhappy situation they should not stay forever and be miserable.”

Nicks’ Trouble in Shangri-La album scored a Top 5 position on Billboard’s Top 200 albums chart. During her storied career as a soloist and with Fleetwood Mac, Nicks amassed more than 40 Top 50 hits and sold more than 140 million albums. She still tours regularly at the age of 66.

We invite you to check out the video of Stevie Nicks singing "Bombay Sapphires." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along.

(Stevie Nicks photo by Matt Becker, melodicrockconcerts@gmail.com / Wikimedia Commons. Star of Bombay photo by Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution.)

“Bombay Sapphires”
Written and performed by Stevie Nicks.

You beloved
Were to me everything
That love stood for
To love one another
For a while, was enough
It was all that I lived for

How can I go on without you?
Can I go on without you?
Will I tell myself, this time
I'm gonna to have to move on

It's like Bombay Sapphires
Hey, I can take you higher
Whatever you desire
I can mend your heart

It is green
Ooh, it is aquamarine
It is colors I have never seen
I can see past you
To the white sand
It is blue
Ooh, it is not about you
It is all true
You know who I am

The sea never changes, not really
It is the constant in my life
I always return here
To the flash of those colors
Through every window
The wind through the night

Here I am dramatic
Here I am not waitin'
Here I am not listenin'
To the call of the world

Well it's like Bombay Sapphires
Hey, I can take you higher
Whatever you desire
I can mend your heart

And it's like purple haze
It's there every day
It's passion never fades
You know what I mean

It's like Bombay Sapphires
Hey, I can take you higher
Whatever you desire
I can mend your heart

I can mend your heart
I can mend your heart
I can mend your heart
I can mend your heart
Whatever you desire
Whatever you desire
Whatever you desire

September 15th, 2014
Hot on the heels of Apple’s introduction of the new iPhone 6, London designer Alexander Amosu has introduced an 18-karat gold version glittering with 6,127 brilliant-cut accent diamonds and punctuated by a 51.29-carat fancy-cut diamond in the shape of the iconic Apple logo. The price tag for what’s being touted as the world’s most expensive iPhone 6 is $2.76 million.

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Named the “Amosu Call of Diamond iPhone 6,” the device takes more than two months to complete because every one of the VVS1-clarity diamonds is painstakingly set by hand, according to Amosu. The diamonds completely cover the phone back, as well as all four side bezels.

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The 18-karat gold case weighs about 85 grams (3 ounces) and the back panel may be engraved with the name of the customer or the name of a business.

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For those looking for a more modestly priced version of Amosu’s blingy iPhone 6, the designer offers a 24-karat yellow or rose gold-plated version (with no diamonds) for about $3,900.

Last Tuesday, Apple rocked the world with its introductions of the iPhone 6, Apple Watch and a new mobile payment system called Apple Pay.

Amosu is hardly a newcomer to the world of luxury tech. He previously made headlines with his diamond-encrusted iPhone 2, which was priced at $144,000, and the world’s most expensive Blackberry handset, which sold for $195,000, according to the Mirror.
September 16th, 2014
Two matching sets of tail-shaped bone earrings carved by our ancient ancestors are the oldest examples of jewelry adornments ever found in North America, according to a team of Alaskan archaeologists.

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The items, which were unearthed at the Mead site between Fairbanks and Delta Junction, AK, offer a rare glimpse at the importance of self-adornment in ancient cultures and reveal the skills and artistry employed to put them together.

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The artifacts are approximately 12,000 years old, according to Barbara Crass, director of Shaw Creek Archaeological Research. “Outside of a few beads there’s nothing else that age and artistic in the New World or at least North America,” she told newsminer.com.

Each earring of the larger set measures approximately 4mm wide, while the smaller earrings are about half that size.

While the materials and designs may seem unsophisticated, Crass contends they were advanced for their time period when primitive man was first developing pottery and ground stone tools.

In a press release, Crass described the smaller of the earring sets as “elegant inverted V-shapes designed for suspension. They have tiny serrations on the interior edges of the V and delicate cross-hatching along the outer edges, possibly representing stylized bird tails.”

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Working with researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Shaw Creek team has been unearthing artifacts from the Mead site since 2009. The earrings were actually found in 2013, but Crass decided to hold off on the announcement for a year in the hope of finding additional jewelry items in 2014. When they didn’t materialize, the team opted to go public with what they had, reported newsminer.com.

According to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Office of History & Archaeology, the Mead site is one of three archaeological sites in Alaska that have yielded data to show that a broad-based hunting and foraging economy was practiced in this area at the end of the last ice age.

These sites contain artifacts directly associated with extinct mammals, such as wapiti, bison and mammoth, and provide new clues about human adaptation to environmental change.

(Earrings photo: Barbara Crass, Shaw Creek Archaeological Research; Dig photo: Alaska Department of Natural Resources.)
September 17th, 2014
New York City’s bustling Times Square was eerily silent on Sunday morning as reality star/real estate agent Ryan Serhant got down on one knee to propose to girlfriend Emilia Bechrakis with a huge radiant-cut diamond set on a plain white-metal band.

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With the help of the Mayor’s office and 50 NYPD officers, the hunky lead character of Bravo’s primetime Million Dollar Listing New York used his celebrity status to effectively shut down one of the busiest parts of the city — from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. — to make the occasion truly memorable.

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"No one has ever done something like this. But I'm only going to propose once in my life, so I wanted to make sure that I did something special," Serhant told E! News.

The epic proposal will be featured in the upcoming fourth season of the popular show, which airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. Spoiler alert: Bechrakis said, “Yes!”

See the simple, but lovely, engagement ring at E! News… Click link

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On Monday, Serhant posted a photo of the Times Square proposal to his Facebook page along with this explanation: “Yesterday morning I shut down Times Square and a little boy from Texas (me) proposed to a little girl from Greece (Emilia) in this crazy city called New York. I need to say thank you for the help of 50 NYPD officers, the Mayor's office, and the Times Square Alliance. We had the heart of this city completely to ourselves. Like I've always said... GO BIG OR GO HOME.” The post was punctuated by a diamond icon.

Serhant seemed to impressed by the power of Facebook and social media when he commented later, "Is this what going viral is? 284,000 likes? 16 million people??"

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The 29-year-old Bechrakis, who is an attorney, was floored by the over-the-top proposal. She told E! News, “I was not expecting this at all. He's really outdone himself!"

The 30-year-old, 6’3” native of Houston and former soap actor has made a name for himself as one of New York City's top real estate brokers. Million Dollar Listing New York chronicles the adventures of Serhant and two other real estate agents as they strive to sell some of the priciest properties in the five boroughs.
September 18th, 2014
Researchers in Moscow have developed a new method of synthesizing a material that far exceeds the hardness of a diamond. Ultrahard fullerite, which is composed of spherical molecules made of 60 carbon atoms, is so extraordinary that it has no place on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness.

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For hundreds of years, diamonds have been celebrated as the hardest substance known to man. In fact, when German geologist Frederich Mohs designed his hardness scale in 1812, diamond was positioned at the top with the maximum rating of 10. It was believed that the only thing that could scratch a diamond was another diamond.

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Now, 200 years later, scientific breakthroughs are changing the way we look at ultrahard materials.

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When subjected to the Vickers hardness test (which basically analyzes what materials are hard enough to dent others), fullerite was able to leave an impression in the surface of a diamond. While natural diamond has a hardness value of nearly 150 GPa (gigapascals), fullerite boasts values that range from 150 to 300 GPa, according to sciencedaily.com.

So, if fullerite is now the world's hardest material, might it usurp diamond as the most coveted bridal gemstone of future generations? The short answer is “unlikely.” There is no indication that fullerite could be faceted like a diamond or that its optical properties — such as its refractive index or dispersion — would yield the brilliance of a diamond.

Researchers from the Technological Institute for Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials (TISNCM) in the town of Troitsk, Russia, see fullerite as a valuable material for industrial applications, primary in the field of metals and other materials processing.

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Currently, industrial-grade diamonds can be used to polish, cut or wear away almost any material. They are vulnerable and show greater wear, however, when working on ferrous metals at high temperature because carbon is soluble in iron. Fullerite promises to be a viable alternative. Very simply stated, the harder a tool is, the longer it will work.

(Diamond indent image: Courtesy of Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology; Frederich Mohs: Wikimedia Commons; Drill bit: Wikimedia Commons; Diamond: uncredited; Molecule rendering: University of Amsterdam)
September 19th, 2014
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you hit songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today’s featured tune is plucked from the #6 spot on the current Billboard Top 40 Adult Pop Songs list. It’s “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic.

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In this song about fighting to make a relationship work, frontman Ryan Tedder lays out all the obstacles he and his girlfriend will overcome to “work it out ‘til the loves runs out.”

About 2:15 into the song, the high-powered chorus transitions to a slower, moody bridge, where Tedder contrasts diamonds with dust and gold with rust to explain what stokes the fire in all of us. He sings, “Ooh, we all run for something. / Oh for God, for fate, / For love, for hate, / For gold, and rust, / For diamonds, and dust.”

“Love Runs Out” is the fifth single released from OneRepublic’s wildly successful third studio album, Native. The album made its debut in 2013 and has been on the Billboard 200 Album chart for 77 weeks, having peaked at #4.

Despite its great success, “Love Runs Out” was never intended to be the fifth release from the album. It was supposed to be the lead single. Tedder told digitalspy.com that he liked “Love Runs Out” as much the band’s chart-topping hit, “Counting Stars.”

But there was a snag. The band was having trouble perfecting the chorus and the song had to be put on hold.

Tedder told Capitol FM, "The very short back story on the song was when we were working on Native I originally thought [“Love Runs Out”] was going to be the first. I wanted it to be the first single, a few of us in the band did, but I could not finish the chorus. And you can't have a song without a chorus."

“Love Runs Out” will get a boost when it’s featured on the soundtrack for the video game "NBA 2K15."

At the end of this post you can check out the gorgeous official video for OneRepublic’s “Love Runs Out.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“Love Runs Out”
Written by Ryan Tedder, Brent Kutzle, Drew Brown, Zach Filkins and Eddie Fisher. Performed by OneRepublic.

I'll be your light, your match, your burning sun,
I'll be the bright and black that's making you run.
And I feel alright, and we'll feel alright,
'Cause we'll work it out, yeah we'll work it out.
I'll be doin' this, if you ever doubt,
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out.

I'll be your ghost, your game, your stadium.
I'll be your 50,000 clapping like one.
And I feel alright, and I feel alright,
'Cause I worked it out, yeah I worked it out.
I'll be doin' this, if you ever doubt,
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out.

I got my mind made up and I can't let go.
I'm killing every second 'til it saves my soul.
I'll be running, I'll be running,
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out.
And we'll start a fire, and we'll shut it down,
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out.

There's a maniac out in front of me.
Got an angel on my shoulder, and Mephistopheles.
My momma raised me good, momma raised me right.
Momma said, "Do what you want, say prayers at night,"
And I'm saying them, cause I'm so devout.
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out, yeah.

I got my mind made up and I can't let go.
I'm killing every second 'til it saves my soul.
I'll be running, I'll be running,
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out.
And we'll start a fire, and we'll shut it down,
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out.

Ooh, we all want the same thing.
Ooh, we all run for something.
Oh for God, for fate,
For love, for hate,
For gold, and rust,
For diamonds, and dust.

I'll be our light, your match, your burning sun,
I'll be the bright and black that's making you run.
I got my mind made up and I can't let go.
I'm killing every second 'til it saves my soul.
I'll be running, I'll be running,
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out.
And we'll start a fire, and we'll shut it down,
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out.

I'll be your light, your match, your burning sun,
I'll be the bright and black that's making you run.
And I feel alright, and we'll feel alright,
'Cause we'll work it out, yeah we'll work it out.
And we'll start a fire, and we'll shut it down,
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out.
'Til the love runs out.

September 22nd, 2014
Baseball fan Michael Haberkorn was ecstatic after making a nifty barehanded catch on the home run ball of Chicago Cubs’ rookie sensation Jorge Soler in the seventh inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field.

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But, while Haberkorn held the prized baseball aloft in his right hand and emphatically high-fived his fellow bleacher bums with his left, the Chicago resident’s gold wedding band went flying off his finger and onto the field. (The white streak circled in the photo below is the ring at the exact moment it went airborne.)

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WGN-TV cameras caught Haberkorn’s priceless reaction as his jubilation instantly turned to utter despair.

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Fortunately, eagle-eyed fans sitting next to Haberkorn had followed the flight of the ring and were able to spot it on the warning track in left field.

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Haberkorn called over a Cubs’ usher and showed him where the ring had landed. Within a few minutes, the ring had been recovered by the grounds crew and returned to its panicked owner. Fortunately, the ring didn’t get caught up in the dense ivy that covers the brick walls of the outfield.

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Cubs’ announcers joked how Haberkorn might have described to his wife the exciting night at the game: “Honey, I got the Soler home run ball. And that’s the good news. The bad news is I lost my ring.”

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The announcers also told the television audience how Haberkorn needed to go out and get the loose-fitting ring resized.

In a post-game interview with MLB.com, Haberkorn accepted his place in the annals of Cubs folklore: “I guess I’m the famous ring guy now,” he said, adding, “I guess it was a great catch and a great ring toss.”

Haberkorn noted that the 22-year-old Soler had agreed to sign the baseball, which represents the first Wrigley Field homer by the impressive Cuban-born prospect.

Check out the MLB.com video showing how Haberkorn lost his ring, where it landed and how he got it back. Click below.

September 23rd, 2014
More than 12 million people tuned in last Wednesday to see Mat Franco take home the $1 million grand prize on NBC's America’s Got Talent. But what everyone was buzzing about after the show was not the talented magician, but host Nick Cannon’s diamond-encrusted shoes.

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Valued at $2 million and dripping with 14,000 full-cut diamonds set in white gold, the slip-ons were ordered by Cannon nearly a year ago to deliver a “wow factor” to the season 9 finale.

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The Guinness Book of World Records is currently evaluating Cannon’s footwear for the title of the Most Valuable Pair of Shoes in the World.

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Beverly Hills jeweler Jason Arasheben told Matt Lauer of the Today Show that the shoes took 2,000 man-hours to create and feature 340 carats in diamonds. Lauer, who had the privilege of modeling the diamond loafers during the Thursday morning broadcast, joked that his calves were getting a workout. “They are heavy,” he said.

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In an interview with WWD, Arasheben said, “Not very often do I get a request for the most expensive shoes in the world. When Nick approached me last year, he said he wanted to make history and be so over-the-top. He wanted to set a new standard in diamonds.”

Arasheben also revealed that his team experimented with various shoe brands until they found just the right match for this project — a flexible pair of patent leather Tom Fords. “We didn’t want [Cannon] looking like Frankenstein when he walked,” the jeweler said.

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It is rumored that Cannon is going to take the shoes on tour and then donate them to charity. The talented 33-year-old singer/actor/comedian and husband of diva Mariah Carey solicited recommendations of potential charities on his Twitter page.

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Franco became the first magician to win the America’s Got Talent competition. In addition to his seven-figure cash prize, he will also get to headline a show in Las Vegas.
September 24th, 2014
British scientists studying the gold-studded treasures unearthed at a 4,000-year-old Stonehenge burial site are convinced that children were responsible for the ultra-fine craftwork and likely developed debilitating myopia from their labor.

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Credit: University of Birmingham and David Bukach

New research into the artifacts of Bush Barrow, a burial mound first discovered in 1808, delves into the human cost of micro-gold working during the Bronze Age. A BBC documentary, “Operation Stonehenge,” contends that children as young as 10 years of age were likely responsible for creating some of the most elaborate treasures of that era.

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"Stonehenge, Condado de Wiltshire, Inglaterra, 2014-08-12, DD 09" by Diego Delso - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

The Bush Barrow dagger, for example, was originally decorated with a handle gleaming with a herringbone pattern of 140,000 tiny gold studs, each thinner than a human hair and barely 1mm wide. They were meticulously set — 1,000 per square centimeter — into the wood handle to create a layering effect reminiscent of fish scales.

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Credit: University of Birmingham and David Bukach

“The size of the studs clearly shows they are too small for adults to have made and set into the dagger handle,” David Dawson, director of the Wiltshire Museum, told Discovery News. Dawson estimated the ornate dagger, which was found in the burial chamber of a clan chieftain along with his remains, would have taken at least 2,500 hours to complete.

Worse yet, the task would have left the young artisan nearly blind because the close-up focusing was done without the assistance of a magnifying glass. That helpful device wouldn’t be invented for another 1,000 years.

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"Bush Barrow - geograph.org.uk - 1622275" by Derek Harper - From geograph.org.uk. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons  

“Only children and teenagers, and those adults who had become myopic naturally or due to the nature of their work as children, would have been able to create and manufacture such tiny objects,” Ronald Rabbetts told Discovery News.

Rabbetts, who is one of Britain’s leading authorities on the optics of the human eye, said that within five years, the child workers’ eyes would have deteriorated, rendering the child very short-sighted. By the age of 20, many of them were likely almost blind, seeing anything more than three feet away as just a blur.

“They would therefore have been unable to do any other work apart from the making of tiny artifacts and would have had to be supported by the community at large,” Rabbetts said.

Visitors to Stonehenge can see the Bush Barrow artifacts at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes, just 15 miles from the famous prehistoric stone monument.
September 25th, 2014
A romantic paddle boat ride on the Wisconsin River with a bunch of close friends seemed to be an ideal place for the dapper Shane to pop the question to his lovely girlfriend, Cheri.

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Well, it wasn’t. And the 42-second video chronicling a romantic marriage proposal that goes terribly wrong has been seen by 4.2 million YouTube viewers, and counting.

The first 15 seconds of the video seem fairly routine, as we see a paddleboat packed with about 10 people floating leisurely down the river near Muscoda, Wis.

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Then the camera pans to a long shot of a bunch of friends on the shore calling to Cheri and holding up four signs that read, “Will You Marry Me?”

Next, the camera turns back to our hero, who has pulled out a diamond ring and is in mid-proposal when the unthinkable happens...

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In her excitement, Cheri playfully taps Shane’s arm, jarring the ring from his grasp and sending it flying into the river.

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A panicked Shane tries to reach into the water, but the ring is already gone. He looks at his girlfriend in disbelief and shouts, “Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.”

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Then, he steps off the paddleboat and into the knee-deep water to start the search. Cheri remains on the boat with her hands pressed to her mouth, sobbing.

(At this point, all future bridal couples should make a mental note: Diamond engagement rings and large bodies of water do not mix.)

The video landed on YouTube exactly a week ago. Even though it quickly went viral, we didn’t write about it at the time because very few details were available about the couple or what happened next. Shane, who has a YouTube handle of “Swilk 16,” didn’t identify himself or his girlfriend, but did include this short description of the video: “A couple of weeks ago I proposed to my girlfriend. Here is what happened.”

A few days ago, a friend of the couple, Elias Eitsert, came forward with more info. He told The Daily News that the group searched the river for two days but were unable to find the ring. He also reported that the couple is happily engaged despite the ring being at the bottom of the river.

There is also a good possibility that the viral nature of the video is generating revenue for the couple as a result of YouTube's Partnership Program. Viral videos that stand the test of time can earn thousands of dollars a month for their creators. Perhaps Shane and Cheri will put some of the proceeds toward a new engagement ring.

Screen captures via YouTube

September 26th, 2014
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you the latest tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today’s featured artist is 23-year-old Grammy nominee Ed Sheeran singing his brand new release, “Photograph,” from his chart-topping album, Multiply.

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Co-penned by Sheeran and Snow Patrol guitarist Johnny McDaid, the song examines the pain of love when you're separated from your sweetheart and focuses on how the memory of a cherished love can be frozen into a photograph.

In one key line, he sings, “You can fit me / Inside the necklace you got when you were sixteen / Next to your heartbeat where I should be / Keep it deep within your soul.”

Sheeran told Spotify.com that he and McDaid wrote “Photograph” in 2012 while hanging out in a Kansas hotel after a performance. Sheeran recalled how he was sitting on the floor making a Lego X-Wing Fighter to give to his sister for a charity auction while a piano loop kept playing on McDaid's laptop in the background.

“I start singing a line and the song kind of unraveled from there,” Sheeran said. “We sat for about four hours, me making [the] Lego [plane], and him on the laptop, just building stuff and then I picked up a guitar and we properly structured it."

Sheeran told The Daily Telegraph that “Photograph” was his “collateral” song from the new album, meaning that, if all else failed, “Photograph” could stand on its own.

Well, the album didn’t fail. Multiply (stylized as “x”) went straight to #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart and was a blockbuster success worldwide. It hit #1 in 12 countries and reached the Top 5 in 11 others.

Born in Hebden Bridge, England, Sheeran moved to London at the age of 17 to pursue a musical career. Three years later, his talent caught the attention of Elton John and Jamie Fox, and soon after he was signed by Asylum Records.

His breakthrough song, “The A Team,” was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards. Sheeran and John performed the song as a duet during the ceremony. A year later, he was nominated as Best New Artist at the 2014 Grammy Awards.

We welcome you to check out the video of Sheeran’s acoustic version of “Photograph,” which he performed at the Capital FM live studio. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“Photograph”
Written by Ed Sheeran and Johnny McDaid. Performed by Ed Sheeran.

Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes
But it's the only thing that I know
When it gets hard, you know it can get hard sometimes
It is the only thing that makes us feel alive

We keep this love in a photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing
Hearts are never broken
And time's forever frozen still

So you can keep me
Inside the pocket of your ripped jeans
Holding me closer 'til our eyes meet
You won't ever be alone, wait for me to come home

Loving can heal, loving can mend your soul
And it's the only thing that I know, know
I swear it will get easier,
Remember that with every piece of you
Hm, and it's the only thing we take with us when we die

Hm, we keep this love in this photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing
Hearts were never broken
And time's forever frozen still

So you can keep me
Inside the pocket of your ripped jeans
Holding me closer 'til our eyes meet
You won't ever be alone

And if you hurt me
That's okay baby, only words bleed
Inside these pages you just hold me
And I won’t ever let you go
Wait for me to come home
Wait for me to come home
Wait for me to come home
Wait for me to come home

You can fit me
Inside the necklace you got when you were sixteen
Next to your heartbeat where I should be
Keep it deep within your soul

And if you hurt me
Well, that's okay baby, only words bleed
Inside these pages you just hold me
And I won’t ever let you go

When I'm away, I will remember how you kissed me
Under the lamppost back on Sixth Street
Hearing you whisper through the phone,
"Wait for me to come home."

September 29th, 2014
Toyota’s stunning new concept car — the C-HR compact SUV — reflects the company’s innovative “diamond architecture,” a styling theme that draws its inspiration right from the jeweler’s showcase.

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Set to make its world debut this Thursday at the Paris Motor Show, the C-HR concept car boasts a lower bodywork that Toyota designers have sculpted to look like the faceted surfaces of a precision-cut gemstone, according to Toyota.

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From the side, the highly faceted lower body, aggressively angular rear shoulders and muscular wheel arches are contrasted with an exceptionally sleek cabin profile. At the rear, distinctive, aero-inspired “floating” lamp clusters add further emphasis to the vehicle’s angular broad-shouldered look.

The hybrid-powered prototype, shown in a brilliant purplish-blue hue, might be mistaken for a 14-foot tanzanite — if you use your imagination and squint your eyes just a bit.

We can’t wait to see Toyota’s color palette for the C-HR line. Will Toyota coordinate the car colors to align with popular gemstones, such as red rubies, green emeralds or, perhaps, black diamonds?

The company hinted that the “faceted” look of the C-HR represents the future design direction for all Toyota vehicles.

Car enthusiasts see the high-style, high-riding C-HR as Toyota’s answer to Nissan’s compact sporty utility vehicle — the Juke.
September 30th, 2014
An intricate gold puzzle ring and gold nugget stick pins are among the precious items salvaged this summer from the SS Central America, a steamship that perished in mile-deep water during a hurricane in 1857.

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Deep-water specialists Odyssey Marine Exploration, which is heading up the recovery efforts, also reclaimed 45 gold bars, more than 15,500 gold and silver coins, and 59 additional pieces of gold jewelry — many featuring gold nuggets.

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The 280-foot-long, wooden-hulled, side-wheel “Ship of Gold” was en route to New York from San Francisco via the Panama Canal when it got caught up in a fateful storm about 130 miles off the coast of South Carolina.

The tragedy took 425 lives and left nearly a half-million ounces of gold bars and freshly minted coins at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The SS Central America rested undisturbed for the next 131 years.

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The wreck was finally discovered in 1988, but despite the efforts of the Columbus-America Discovery Group, only 5% of the site had been explored before legal entanglements shut the project down.

Another 16 years elapsed before Odyssey Marine Exploration earned the rights to excavate the site. The company will receive 80% of recovery proceeds until a fixed fee and a negotiated day rate are paid. Thereafter, Odyssey will receive 45% of the recovery proceeds.

This past April, a successful reconnaissance dive 1.3 miles below the surface resulted in a haul of nearly 1,000 ounces in gold bars and coins, much of it sitting exposed on the ocean floor.

Odyssey’s President & COO Mark Gordon told Fox News that the most spectacular piece to be recovered to date is a gold puzzle ring. Devised centuries ago and intended as bridal jewelry, the clever mechanical puzzle is made up of six interconnecting loops that come apart easily but are difficult to put back together. Once reassembled, the ring locks together with a two clasping hands.

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Because the ship and its passengers were traveling from San Francisco during the era of the California Gold Rush, it’s not surprising that gold stick pins found in the rubble featured large gold nuggets.

The largest gold bar recovered, so far, was 10 inches long and weighed 22 pounds. The value of the precious metal alone is approximately $428,000.

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Odyssey’s Gordon noted that although he and his team have suspended this initial phase of exploration to allow for repairs and to review their progress, the group will likely return to the SS Central America site before the end of the 2015 season.

Images: Courtesy of Odyssey Marine Exploration