Music Friday: Elton John Suffers From a Broken Heart in 2001’s ‘Dark Diamond’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Elton John sings about suffering from a broken heart in 2001’s “Dark Diamond.”

In the song composed by John with lyrics by long-time collaborator Bernie Taupin, the term “dark diamond” is used to describe a person who once flourished as a “jewel” with a fire in his soul, but is now “hard and cold.”

His beloved was the one star he could count on, the only one who could show him the true meaning of love. But his inability to “break through” caused him to lose his true love and now he has only himself to blame.

John sings, “Oh, I’m a dark diamond / I’ve turned hard and cold / Once was a jewel with fire in my soul / There’s two sides of a mirror / One I couldn’t break through / Stayed trapped on the inside, wound up losing you.”

“Dark Diamond,” which incorporates elements of blues, pop and R&B, appeared as the second track of Songs from the West Coast, John’s 26th studio album. Listen carefully and you can hear music legend Stevie Wonder making a guest appearance on the harmonica.

Although the song was never released as a single, “Dark Diamond” still gets airplay in Scandinavia and Continental Europe. The album charted in 19 countries, including #15 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and #9 on the Canadian Albums chart.

Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, the 71-year-old John is one of the best-selling music artists in the world. In a career that has spanned five decades, John has sold more than 300 million records. John and Taupin have collaborated on 30-plus albums and are credited with more than 50 Top 40 hits.

His single in honor of Princess Diana, “Candle in the Wind 1997,” sold more than 33 million copies worldwide, making it best-selling single in the history of the U.K. and U.S. singles charts.

Please check out the audio track of John performing “Dark Diamond.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Dark Diamond”
Written by Bernie Taupin and Elton John. Performed by Elton John.

Oh, I’m a dark diamond
I’ve turned hard and cold
Once was a jewel with fire in my soul
There’s two sides of a mirror
One I couldn’t break through
Stayed trapped on the inside, wound up losing you

Tell me how does it work
How do you make things fit
Spent all my life trying to get it right
I’ve put it together and it falls apart
I thought to myself I might understand
But when the wall’s built
And the heart hardens
You get a dark diamond
Dark diamond

Oh, I’m a dark diamond
But you’re something else
You read me more than I read myself
The one star I could count on
Only comet I could trust
You burnt through my life to the true meaning of love

[Chorus 2X]

Credit: Image by Richard Mushet on Flickr (Elton John on Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

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‘Lotus Ring’ Smashes Guinness World Record for the Most Diamonds Set in a Ring

The “Lotus Ring” has just smashed the Guinness World Record for the most diamonds set in a single ring. By employing an ingenious design featuring 48 individual diamond-encrusted “petals,” Indian jewelers Vishal and Khushbu Agarwal were able to set a staggering 6,690 diamonds into an 18-karat rose gold structure.

The intricately detailed ring, which took more than six months to design and craft, is valued at $4.1 million and is heavier than a golf ball at 58 grams (2.05 ounces).

Over the past seven years, the “Most Diamonds Set in a Single Ring” record has changed hands three times.

The Lotus Ring captured the record previously held by Savio Jewellery’s “Peacock Ring,” which had established it own record in 2015, with 3,827 ideal-cut diamonds set in 18-karat gold. That ring had an estimated value of $2.7 million.

At the time, a spokesperson for the India-based Savio Jewellery company had told JCK magazine that the manufacturing process took three years to complete, with individual diamonds ranging in weight from 0.003 carats to .01 carats. The Peacock Ring’s diamond count was 51% greater than that of the previous record holder, the “Tsarvena Swan,” which held its title since 2011.

Vishal Agarwal is credited with coming up with the Lotus Ring design, while Khushbu Agarwal, the owner of Hanumant Diamonds, funded the project and provided the artisans to complete the fabrication.

The Agarwals are hoping that the Lotus Ring will help raise awareness about the importance of water conservation. As the national flower of India, the lotus depicts “the beauty growing in the water-world,” according to Vishal and Khushbu, who are both based in Surat, India.

“As fame is so much attached to a Guinness World Records title, we can put it to good use by bringing together like-minded people to work towards a beautiful world,” they said in a statement.

Please check out the video, below, which offers an insider’s view at how the Lotus Ring was manufactured.

Screen captures via Instagram/guinnessworldrecords. Peacock Ring by Savio Jewellery.

For $145 Million, You Can Pop the Question While Orbiting the Dark Side of the Moon

Starting in 2022, the French ApoteoSurprise agency will be offering a week-long “Marriage Proposal Around the Moon,” which will literally launch couples into space on a 500,000-kilometer journey to the moon and back.

Priced at $145 million, the proposal package includes all the requisite training and a few romantic touches along the way. The self-flying spacecraft, which will take off from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., will allow the lovers to travel without a pilot.

As their autonomous spacecraft accelerates off the launch pad, the couples will experience 3G forces. But, soon the agitation will give way to calm, according to ApoteoSurprise, as the first effects of weightlessness are felt. At that moment, Richard Strauss’s “Thus spoke Zarathustra, Op.30” (Theme from 2001 Space Odyssey) will be relayed to the space lovers’ helmets.

With a top speed of 38,000 kmph (23,612 mph), the spacecraft will reach the moon in about three days. The flight plan will mirror that of the famous Apollo 8 mission of 1968.

The craft will survey the surface of the moon at an altitude of only 200 to 300 kilometers and then the spaceship will slow down and disappear behind the hidden face of the moon. For about 30 minutes, all communication with the Earth will become impossible, and now alone in space, the suitor will be ready to propose to his beloved as nobody has done before.

“Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra will be played in the couples’ headsets, as the future groom pulls the engagement ring out of the box that he secretly hid in his spacesuit.

Sinatra will be singing, “Fly me to the moon / Let me play among the stars / Let me see what spring is like / On a, Jupiter and Mars / In other words, hold my hand / In other words, baby, kiss me.”

Once the craft emerges from the dark side of the moon, planet Earth will be rising on the horizon and communications with the Space Center will be re-established.

When the spacecraft approaches the Earth’s atmosphere, the temperature of the heat shield will increase considerably, so that a bright plasma trail will be visible through the portholes, according to ApoteoSurprise. Halfway to the stratosphere, deceleration will get close to 5G, but then a few minutes later, the parachutes will be deployed and retro-rockets will allow the space capsule to land smoothly. Eight cameras will immortalize the trip from every angle.

The training component of this adventure is no walk in the park. It demands three months of intense preparations, including cardio training sessions, high-G training in a centrifuge, acclimation to microgravity through a series of parabolic flights on board a Boeing 727, acclimation to high accelerations and speed changes on board a fighter jet flying over Mach 2, complete presentation of the spaceship and of the flight schedule, stress management strategies and emergency simulations.

Founded in 2006 by aeronautical engineer Nicolas Garreau, ApoteoSurprise offers 30 all-inclusive proposal packages, including the surprise appearance of Cinderella’s carriage with its magical glass slipper, 1,000 roses raining down on a yacht during a dinner cruise, a carrier dove sent to the beloved’s home, a limousine ride to see a giant love message light up at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, or even the deployment of an aerobatic display team to draw a huge heart in the sky.

Credit: Image via ApoteoSurprise.

July Birthstone: TV Ad Pioneer Nearly Lost His 138-Carat ‘Good Luck’ Ruby in NYC Taxicab

Back in the late 1950s, TV advertising pioneer Rosser Reeves purchased an unmounted star ruby and carried it in his pocket for good luck.

This was no ordinary ruby. With its rich red color and well-defined star, the 138.72-carat ruby was said to be the largest and finest star ruby the world has ever known.

He called the stone "my baby" and protected it in a small velvet pouch. Today, we call it the "Rosser Reeves Star Ruby."

The advertising executive, who penned the M&Ms slogan, “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand,” was one of the most successful admen of his day. And he attributed much of his good luck to the beautiful scarlet stone.

One day in the early 1960s, Reeves took a taxi to New York's JFK Airport to connect with a flight to London. When Reeves arrived at Heathrow Airport, he realized that his "good luck" ruby had been left behind in the cab.

"He called the taxi company, and luckily, the driver had turned in the pouch," recounted Brendan Reeves, the advertising giant's great-grandson, at geogallery.si.edu. "After that harrowing experience, Reeves donated the ruby to the Smithsonian Institution."

Since 1965, the cabochon-cut Rosser Reeves Star Ruby has been one of the most prized possessions of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. It can be seen near the Hope Diamond and Logan Sapphire at the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals.

The famous ruby has an origin of Sri Lanka although it’s not clear when it was mined. According to published reports, gem dealer Robert Fisher purchased the stone at a London auction in 1953. At the time, it weighed 140 carats, but the asterism in the stone was slightly off center and the surface had abrasions.

It was subsequently cut down to 138.72 carats to give it a prettier appearance and bring the “star” closer to the center. The ruby had become so famous in its own right that it had been the subject of stories in the New York World-Telegram and The Sun as early as 1953.

Although Reeves — who passed away in 1984 at the age of 74 — often stated that he bought the stone at an auction in Istanbul in the mid-1950s, he actually purchased the recut stone from Fisher’s son, Paul, in the late 1950s.

The asterism is caused by titanium trapped in the corundum while the crystal is forming. As the crystal cools, the titanium orients itself as needle-like structures in three directions. A cabochon cut, with a smooth, rounded surface, allows the light to reflect off the titanium and give the appearance of a six-legged star.

Ruby is the official birthstone for the month of July.

Photo: Smithsonian Institution/Chip Clark.

Music Friday: Supergroup Member Taylor Goldsmith Channels Dylan in ‘Diamond Ring’ Bonus Track

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…

“Diamond Ring”
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

Diamond ring
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

Diamond ring
Diamond ring
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

Diamond ring
Diamond ring
Shine like gold
Behold that diamond ring

Credit: Screen capture via universal-music.de.

Man Finally Gets to Pop the Question After Airline Returns Lost Luggage With Engagement Ring Inside

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 http://www.wfaa.com.

All-Star Cast of 10 Super-Size Diamonds From Prolific Karowe Mine Yields $32.5 Million

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.

Long Island Police Officers Reunite Pennsylvania Bride-to-Be With Her $20,000 Lost Treasure

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.

3.3-Carat Diamond Pinned Inside Donated Sweater Finds Its Way Back to Relieved Owner

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.

FIFA World Cup Trophy Is Made of 11 Pounds of 18-Karat Gold Worth $168,000

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.