Music Friday: ‘Plant Your Flower and You Grow a Pearl,’ Sings Earth, Wind & Fire

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, legendary band Earth, Wind & Fire uses pearls and gold to symbolize unspoiled perfection in their 1975 classic, “That’s the Way of the World.”

A powerful song brimming with messages of inspiration and hope, “That’s the Way of the World” implores the listener to “stay young at heart” despite the negative influences of the cold world.

They sing, “That’s the way of the world / Plant your flower and you grow a pearl / Child is born with a heart of gold / Way of the world makes his heart so cold.”

Band members have called “That’s the Way of the World” their “national anthem” and, in 2004, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. One year later, Rolling Stone magazine rated it #329 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

“That’s the Way of the World” was originally written by band members Maurice and Verdine White, along with producer Charles Stepney, as part of the score for a movie about the dark side of the music business. While the movie flopped, the soundtrack was a rousing success. The song was also the title track of their sixth studio album, which ranked as the third best-selling pop album and the number one best-selling R&B album of 1975.

Founded in Chicago by Maurice White in 1969, Earth, Wind & Fire’s unique sound combines modern jazz, fusion, soul, gospel, funk, disco, rock and the distinct rhythms of African music. Featuring the interplay of Philip Bailey’s falsetto and Maurice White’s baritone — supported by multiple drummers and a powerful brass section — the band amassed a huge international following for more than 40 years. Maurice White passed away in February of 2016 at the age of 74.

The six-time Grammy Award winners are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.

Please check out the video of Earth, Wind & Fire’s live performance of “That’s the Way of the World.” Put on your dancing shoes and be prepared to sing along…

“That’s the Way of the World”
Written by Verdine White, Maurice White and Charles Stepney. Performed by Earth, Wind & Fire.

Hearts of fire creates love desire
Take you high and higher to the world you belong
Hearts of fire creates love desire
High and higher to your place on the throne

We come together on this special day
Sing our message loud and clear
Looking back, we’ve touched on sorrowful days
Future pass, they disappear
You will find peace of mind
If you look way down in your heart and soul
Don’t hesitate ’cause the world seems cold
Stay young at heart, ’cause you’re never, never old

That’s the way of the world
Plant your flower and you grow a pearl
Child is born with a heart of gold
Way of the world makes his heart so cold

Hearts of fire create love desire take you
High and higher to the world you belong
Hearts of fire love desire
High and higher, yeah yeah yeah
Hearts of fire love desire
Ahh higher

We come together on this special day
Sung our message loud and clear
Looking back, we’ve touched on sorrowful days
Future disappears
You will find peace of mind
If you look way down in your heart and soul
Don’t hesitate ’cause the world seems cold
Stay young at heart, ’cause you’re never, never, never

That’s the way of the world,
Plant your flower and you grow a pearl
Child is born with a heart of gold
Way of the world makes his heart so cold

Hearts of fire, love desire
High and higher, yeah yeah
Hearts of fire, love desire

Credit: Image by Craig ONeal [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

World’s Most Popular Engagement Ring Boasts 103,900 Saves on Pinterest

Social media has been a game changer for bridal jewelry, particularly on Pinterest, where the most popular engagement ring on that image-sharing platform has garnered an astonishing 103,900 pins and worldwide attention.

In a surprising twist on a classic, this dainty rose gold stunner features a 1.22-carat brilliant round solitaire set with four prongs on a simple band. The engagement ring is complemented by a two-millimeter milgrain rose gold wedding band accented with small round diamonds. Simple yet magnificent. Retro yet modern.

According to Metro News UK, the ubiquitous ring was custom-designed by its owner, Sylvia Billone, who was inspired by images on Pinterest. The ring stands in stark contrast to last year’s most popular engagement ring, the “Verragio Venetian,” an ornate 18-karat white gold ring centered by a princess-cut diamond.

Rose gold is an alloy made from gold and copper. Colors range from to dusky pink to yellow-orange depending on the ratio of gold to copper. The sugary pink tone has captured hearts since its inception in nineteenth-century Russia, when Carl Fabergé blended yellow gold with copper to create a blush-toned hybrid called “Russian gold.” Cartier’s use of the composite during the 1920s Art Deco period reinforced its popularity.

Trend research indicates that more couples are selecting distinctive rose gold as their metal of choice for engagement rings and wedding bands. While rose gold can feel retro, the metal works surprisingly well for modern designs. The warm hues of rose gold beautifully show off diamonds and other gemstones.

The rose gold shade shined brightly in 2016 when Rose Quartz was named a Pantone Color of the Year along with Serenity blue. According to Pantone, “as consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent.” According to Allure.com, the most sought after items are swathed in the opulent blush of rose gold. Described as a hue between icy white gold and warm yellow gold, rose gold is whimsical and romantic.

According to The Next Web, the rose gold phenomenon really exploded in popularity on the social media scene since the 18-karat rose gold “tech luxury” Apple Watch arrived in September 2014. Then came the wildly popular rose gold iPhone 6s. For personal tech gadgets, rose gold proved to be a welcome change from largely impersonal, cool-toned metallics. According to CNET, rose gold “is the new black” for gadgets, and the hottest option for iPhones, MacBooks and Beats headphones – often causing a “preorder frenzy.”

Rose gold-colored accents are even popping up in unexpected places, including interior design. “It’s definitely a trend and not a classic look,” says Maria Killam, an interior designer and color expert. “Metals for interiors have been getting warmer recently, and now that gold is dominating the scene, rose gold has a strong place on the edge of the trend for those who love to push the limits.”

Credits: Images via Pinterest/Sylvia Billone.

Music Friday: Awkward Teen Katy Perry Wants to Be ‘Pretty in Pearls,’ Not ‘One of the Boys’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. As part of our continuing tribute to June’s official birthstone, today’s selection from Katy Perry shines the spotlight on pearls.

In the title track from her blockbuster 2008 album One of the Boys, Perry sings about shedding her tomboy image: “I just wanna be one of the girls, pretty in pearls. Not one of the boys.”

Later in the song, she tells a guy who used to treat her like a little sister that he may have a chance to win her heart one day, “But not until you give me my diamond ring.”

In an interview with New York radio station Z100, Perry explained that “One of the Boys” was inspired by her own experiences as an awkward teenager who suddenly transforms into a young woman.

“[It’s a] coming-of-age-type song,” she said. “Something happens from junior high to high school: We girls start blooming; guys start developing crushes. No longer are we playing dodge ball; we want to sit and paint our fingernails instead.”

“One of the Boys” was the first track from Perry’s Grammy-nominated second studio album — a release that charted in 14 countries and sold more than seven million copies worldwide.

Born Katheryn Elizabeth “Katy” Hudson in Santa Barbara, Calif., the singer changed her name in the early 2000s so she wouldn’t be confused with actress Kate Hudson. The daughter of Christian pastor parents, Perry grew up singing in a church choir, where she developed an affection for gospel music. Perry was dropped by two record labels before going on to sign with Capitol Music Group in 2007.

Over the past decade, the 32-year-old Perry has become one of the most successful musical artists of all time, having sold 100 million records globally. Perry has the distinction of being the most followed celebrity on Twitter. She has 99.2 million followers, narrowly edging out Justin Bieber’s 95.7 million.

Please check out the video of Perry’s 2008 live performance of “One of the Boys.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“One of the Boys”
Written and performed by Katy Perry.

I saw a spider, I didn’t scream
‘Cause I can belch the alphabet
Just double dog dare me
And I chose guitar over ballet
And I take these suckers down
‘Cause they just get in my way

The way you look at me is kinda like a little sister
Your high five, your goodbyes
And it leaves me nothing but blisters

[Chorus:]
So I don’t wanna be one of the boys
One of your guys
Just give me a chance to prove to you tonight
That I just wanna be one of the girls
Pretty in pearls
Not one of the boys

So over the summer something changed
I started reading “Seventeen” and shaving my legs
And I studied “Lolita” religiously
And I walked right into school and caught you staring at me

‘Cause I know what you know
But now you’re gonna have to take a number
It’s OK
Maybe one day
But not until you give me my diamond ring

[Chorus:]
‘Cause I don’t wanna be one of the boys
One of your guys
Just give me a chance to prove to you tonight
That I just wanna be your homecoming queen
Pin-up poster dream
Not one of the boys

I wanna be a flower
Not a dirty weed
I wanna smell like roses
Not a baseball team
And I swear maybe one day you’re gonna
Wanna make out, make out, make out with me

(Don’t wanna be) don’t wanna be
(Don’t wanna be) don’t wanna be
(Don’t wanna be)

[Chorus:]
‘Cause I don’t wanna be one of the boys
One of your guys
Just give me a chance to prove to you tonight
That I just wanna be one of the girls
Pretty in pearls
And not one of the boys

Credit: Image by Lordnikon (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Let’s Celebrate June’s Official Birthstone With a Close-Up Look at the Hope Pearl

Let’s celebrate June’s official birthstone with a close-up look at one of the most extraordinary natural pearls in the world. It stands two inches tall, weighs 450 carats and is the sibling of the world’s most famous blue diamond. Introducing the Hope Pearl.

Back in the early part of the 19th century, a London banker named Henry Philip Hope amassed a collection of fabulous gems, including the 45.52-carat Hope Diamond and 150 natural pearls.

Hope’s namesake pearl, which was once believed to be the largest natural saltwater baroque pearl in existence, exhibited an irregular pear shape and a unique coloration, grading from dark bronze to white. Experts believe the baroque specimen is a blister pearl, which grows attached to the mollusk’s shell.

A natural pearl is extraordinarily rare and valuable because it is created by a mollusk totally by chance, without human intervention. A natural pearl forms when an irritant, such as a grain of sand, slips in between the mollusk’s shell and its mantle tissue. To protect itself from the irritant, the mollusk secretes layer upon layer of nacre, which is the iridescent material that eventually produces a pearl. Cultured pearls, by comparison, are grown under controlled conditions, where a bead is implanted in the body of the mollusk to stimulate the secretion of nacre.

The Hope Pearl is set as a pendant, with the smaller end capped with a crown of red enameled gold set with diamonds, rubies and emeralds.

Both the Hope Diamond (purchased in 1824) and Hope Pearl (purchased between 1800 and 1810) were mentioned prominently in the 1839 publication titled “Catalogue of the Collection of Pearls and Precious Stones Formed by Henry Philip Hope, Esq.” Hope, who never married, died that same year and a bitter legal battle ensued among his three nephews, who made claims on the estate. After 10 years, a settlement was reached and the jewels were split up. The pearl ended up in the South Kensington Museum for many years, and was sold at a Christie’s auction in 1886 for £9,000 (about £1 million, or $1.29 million, in today’s valuation).

The Hope Diamond and Hope Pearl remained apart for the next 156 years. But then, in 2005, the diamond and pearl siblings enjoyed a momentous reunion at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. The Hope Diamond was already a resident of the National Gem and Mineral collection at the National Museum of Natural History.

The Hope Pearl was one of 12 extraordinary specimens featured in a six-month special exhibition called “The Allure of Pearls” in the Harry Winston Gallery of the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals. The Hope Pearl was loaned for the presentation by an unnamed collector from England.

Credits: Smithsonian/NMNH Photo Services.

Amateur Prospector Finds 2.78-Carat Diamond in the Same Spot Where ‘Strawn-Wagner’ Was Discovered in 1990

Back in 1990, a Murfreesboro, Ark., resident named Shirley Strawn became an instant celebrity when she struck it rich at the nearby Crater of Diamonds State Park — the only diamond site in the world where amateur prospectors get to keep what they find.

Strawn discovered a 3.03-carat diamond in the East Drain section of the park’s 37 1/2-acre search area. Gemologists determined that the rough stone had so much potential as a faceted diamond that it was sent to New York, where famous diamond cutter Lazare Kaplan International worked its magic. The Arkansas-sourced rough gem was transformed into a world-class, 1.09-carat round brilliant-cut sparkler, and became the first diamond from the state park to earn a perfect grade of “Triple Zero” (Ideal cut/D color/Flawless) from the American Gem Society.

The find was so momentous that the State of Arkansas purchased the gem — now known as the “Strawn-Wagner” diamond — for $34,700 and made it the centerpiece of the park’s special exhibit. There’s even a prominent marker in the East Drain section of the park to show exactly where it was found.

Only a few weeks ago, a retiree named Wendell Fox was scanning the ground very close to the Strawn-Wagner marker when he, too, spotted a diamond on the surface. While Strawn’s gem was white and weighed 3.03 carats in its rough state, Fox’s gem weighed 2.78 carats and displayed a champagne brown color.

“I was 80 to 90 percent sure that it was a diamond when I saw it,” the 70-year-old Fox told park officials. About the size of an English pea, the oval diamond contains a few inclusions and demonstrates an unmistakable metallic shine.

Park Interpreter Waymon Cox noted, “It’s no surprise that Mr. Fox found his diamond by surface searching. It has rained a lot at the park this spring and, so far, we have registered 11 diamonds that were found on top of the ground in May.”

Cox explained that diamonds lack static electricity so dirt doesn’t stick to them. When rainfall uncovers larger diamonds near the surface and the sun comes out, they sparkle and are often easier to see.

Although Fox and his wife, Jennifer, are now retired and living in Joliet, Mont., Fox spent his formative years in Arkansas and always dreamed of searching for diamonds at the park. His wish came true a few weeks ago when the couple visited for the first time.

Wendall and Jennifer have named their diamond “Way Out Yonder” to honor their home in Montana and plan to have the gem mounted in a piece of jewelry.

“All in all, it was a great experience,” said Wendell Fox. “Finding a diamond was just icing on the cake.”

So far this year, the Crater of Diamonds State Park has registered 209 diamonds weighing a total of 52.08 carats. Seven diamonds have weighed in at more than 1 carat each. In March, 14-year-old Kalel Langford of Centerton, Ark., made headlines when he secured a 7.44-carat brown gem that he named “Superman’s Diamond.” The largest diamond ever discovered in the United States was unearthed in Murfreesboro in 1924 during an early mining operation. Named the Uncle Sam, the white diamond with a pink cast weighed 40.23 carats.

Credits: Images courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

92-Carat Heart-Shaped ‘La Légende’ Diamond Sells for $15 Million, Sets New Auction Record

The 92.15-carat “La Légende” — billed as the largest D-flawless, heart-shaped diamond ever seen at auction — set a new record at Christie’s Geneva when it was scooped up by an anonymous buyer for $15 million.

The previous record-holder was a 56-carat heart-shaped stone that was sold at Christie’s six years ago for $10.9 million.

Described by Christie’s as having excellent polish and symmetry, “La Légende” is the centerpiece of a cultured pearl necklace signed by Parisian jewelers Boehmer and Bassenge. “La Légende” (“The Legend”) is mounted in platinum and positioned between two round diamonds.

The Gemological Institute of America awarded “La Légende” a Type IIa rating. This is the purest type of diamond because it is composed solely of carbon with virtually no trace elements in the crystal lattice.

Christie’s had placed the pre-sale estimate for the auction headliner at $14 million to $20 million.

Other auction highlights included a 15.03-carat ruby ring, which fetched $12.9 million, and a 7.97-carat fancy intense blue diamond that sold for $12.7 million.

Overall, Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction presented 250 lots and reaped $95 million.

Credit: Photos courtesy of Christie’s.

Music Friday: Australian Country Legend John Williamson Sings About the Untold Riches Lying Beneath The Outback

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we take a trip to the Land Down Under where country legend John Williamson sings about the untold riches lying beneath the vast, remote, inland territory known as the Australian Outback.

In his 2002 song called “Sing You The Outback,” Williamson pays homage to generations of miners who have toiled in harsh conditions to extract precious metals and valuable gemstones…

“I’ll sing you the miners, steel and coal / Opals and diamonds, silver and gold / Emeralds and sapphires, I wish for you / Holes in the outback, down below.”

Williamson emphasizes the vital role The Outback has played in Australia’s history and the impact it will have on its future. He contrasts the territory’s harsh and unforgiving environment with its incomparable beauty. The Outback encompasses 2.5 million square miles, but is inhabited by only 60,000 people. He describes The Outback as “impossible,” while also acknowledging that “there is no way he can find an end to what it means to me.”

“Sing You The Outback” is the first track from Williamson’s studio album, Gunyah, which means “home” in the traditional Aboriginal language.

Over the course of a career that has spanned nearly five decades, the 71-year-old singer-songwriter has earned a reputation of being a vocal advocate for the people of the bush. He has also been a prolific recording artist and commercial success. He’s credited with releasing 40 albums, with sales tallying more than four million in Australia alone.

He has received 26 Golden Guitar trophies at the Country Music Awards of Australia and, in 2010, was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame. In 2000, he performed at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games.

We hope you enjoy the audio track of Williamson performing “Sing You The Outback.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Sing You The Outback”
Written and performed by John Williamson.

I’ll sing you the desert, where black men sailed
Waterhole to water, where white men failed
See the face of dreamers, forgotten souls
Hear the voice of cattlemen crackle in the coals
Maybe we will learn what’s written in the sand
A thousand generations living off the land
I’ll sing you the waters, runnin’ through the town
Wildflowers and Wattles when it settles down
The Outback is impossible, forever and it’s free
No way can I find an end to what it means to me

The Outback

I’ll sing you the miners, steel and coal
Opals and diamonds, silver and gold
Emeralds and sapphires, I wish for you
Holes in the outback, down below
There’s lakes and there’s rivers, caves to be found
And there’s another landscape underground

I’ll sing you the waters runnin’ through the town
Wildflowers and Wattles when it settles down
The backbone of the women who fight on and on
The healing of the sunset when all is said and done
The Outback is impossible, forever and it’s free
No way can I find an end to what it means to me

To what it means to me
The Outback (4X)

Credits: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Brazilian Miners Unearth 600-Pound Emerald; Specimen Will Likely Go on Tour

An enormous emerald weighing more than 600 pounds and standing 4.3 feet tall was unearthed recently in Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia.

The specimen, which contains numerous emerald crystals embedded in host rock, was extracted from a depth of 656 feet at the Carnaiba mine. Credited with the amazing find are the miners of the Bahia Mineral Cooperative.

The specimen was pulled from Carnaiba about three weeks ago, and its May discovery worked out perfectly because emerald is the official birthstone for this month.

A local mine owner purchased the stone for an undisclosed sum, and said through his lawyer that he intends to present the giant emerald at national exhibitions. He also chose not to be identified due to security-related issues.

“Today, the owner of the stone is authorized to travel with it through all national [Brazilian] territory,” said lawyer Marcio Jandir. “Obviously he wants to do some exhibitions with the stone, present it in museums and libraries, wherever he is able to present it.”

Despite its immense proportions, the recently discovered emerald specimen is not the largest ever found in the region. In 2001, the 752-pound Bahia Emerald was also pulled from a local mine. Over the past 16 years, that stone has been the subject of international intrigue and numerous legal claims. It was once estimated to be worth $400 million, but its actual value remains a mystery. At one point in its murky history, it was listed on eBay for a “Buy It Now” price of $75 million.

Credits: Video screen captures via AOL.com.

Texas Storm Chaser Combines His Two Loves in One Unforgettable Proposal Scene

A Texas storm chaser successfully combined the two loves of his life when he popped the question to his girlfriend with a tornado spinning perilously nearby.

An amazing photo posted to his Facebook page on May 17 shows 25-year-old Alex Bartholomew on bended knee as he proposes to his girlfriend, Britney Fox Cayton. Sharing the romantic scene with the couple is a twister descending from a giant, grey storm cloud.

“I thought it would be kind of cool to combine the two best things in my life,” Bartholomew told Today.com. “I really wanted it to go like this. I really wanted to propose in front of a tornado to combine the two loves of my life.”

Bartholomew’s friend, Jason Cooley, took the shots that caught the attention of high-profile media outlets, such as Inside Edition, USA Today, Brides.com, Huffington Post and NPR.

“I wanted to get the tornado right in between them,” Cooley told Inside Edition. “I was worried the tornado was going to disappear. The tornado waited for us. The scene was perfect.”

Bartholomew, who works with his new fiancée at Home Depot in Temple, Texas, fulfills his passion for tornados by taking a few weeks off every year for what he calls a “chase-cation.” This is when he invites his friends to join him in his pursuit of spectacular weather systems — and twisters.

Cayton and Cooley agreed to participate in Bartholomew’s latest chase, but the future bride had no clue a marriage proposal was in the offing. Bartholomew had purchased the ring in March, but was waiting for just the right time to pop the question.

That time came to pass last Tuesday near picturesque McLean, Texas.

“I had no idea, it was complete shock,” Cayton told Inside Edition. “I just nodded because I couldn’t get the words out I was tearing up so bad.”

“Wow, what a day,” Bartholomew wrote on his Facebook post. “2 (maybe 3 tornadoes), great storms and most importantly she said YES!”

The storm chaser added, “I seriously couldn’t ask for a better life and I can’t wait to spend it with her by my side.”

The couple’s story was immortalized on NPR. Click the link to hear host David Greene reporting for the Morning Edition.

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/529634838/529634839

Credits: Images via Facebook/Alex Bartholomew; Facebook/Britney Fox Cayton.

$13 ‘Fake’ Gem Bought 30 Years Ago at a ‘Car Boot Sale’ Turns Out to Be 26-Carat Diamond Worth $448K

Thirty years ago, a woman from west London scooped up a showy ring for £10 ($13) at a car boot sale. Convinced that it was costume jewelry due to its inexpensive price, oversized center stone and filthy mounting, the woman cleaned it up and made it part of her day-to-day fashion wardrobe. (For Brits, a car boot sale is akin to a flea market.)

Now, decades later, Sotheby’s London will be putting the ring on the auction block on June 7 for a staggering pre-sale high estimate of $448,000. You see, the bauble turned out to be a 26.27-carat, antique cushion-shaped diamond that dates back to the 19th century.

“The owner would wear it out shopping, wear it day-to-day. It’s a good looking ring,” Jessica Wyndham, head of Sotheby’s London jewelry department, told the BBC. “But it was bought as a costume jewel. No one had any idea it had any intrinsic value at all. [She] enjoyed it all this time.”

Only recently, a local jeweler told the owner that the ring could be very valuable. The owner, who did not want to be identified, took the ring to Sotheby’s, which confirmed the authenticity of the diamond with a report from the Gemological Institute of America. The diamond earned an impressive clarity grade of VVS2 and an “I” color rating.

Sotheby’s believes the ring will sell in the range of $320,000 to $448,000.

The owner had been convinced that her stone was a fake because it didn’t sparkle like a modern diamond.

“With an old style of cutting… the light doesn’t reflect back as much as it would from a modern stone cutting,” Wyndham said. “Cutters worked more with the natural shape of the crystal, to conserve as much weight rather than make it as brilliant as possible.”

Wyndham said the sale of the ring would be life-changing for the owner. She called the ring a “one-off windfall, an amazing find.”

Credit: Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.