Keno Brothers Blog

Articles in May 2016

May 2nd, 2016
Decked out in their "Star 98 Diamond Dive" T-shirts, 40 wildly enthusiastic contestants pounced on a 6-foot-tall, 800-pound wedding cake to try to find a $2,000 diamond engagement ring that was baked inside.

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They destroyed the cake in a matter of seconds as onlookers at the Grand Teton Mall in Idaho Falls, Idaho, this past Saturday watched in amazement. A video of the event shows the cake being enveloped by a sea of humanity.

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The 2nd Annual Diamond Dive was sponsored by local radio station Star 98 in conjunction with a local baker, who designed the cake, and a local jeweler, who provided the jewelry. In all, 16 rings were hidden in the cake, 15 of which were non-precious and represented other prizes. The grand prize was a genuine .50-carat princess-cut diamond engagement ring.

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In order to qualify for the Diamond Dive, listeners of Star 98 had to call the station at designated times, starting on April 18. Forty people were eventually selected to participate in the messy, no-holds-barred cake-diving event.

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To make the massive cake, the baker's team had to use 165 cake mixes, 54 dozen eggs, 192 pounds of sugar, 72 pounds of shortening and a quart of cake flavoring.

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As the excitement unfolded on Saturday, the only person who knew the exact location of the diamond ring was the baker.

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As if describing an Olympic event, Star 98 program manager Preston Lee joked to Local News 8, "So these are dedicated people. They've been training. They've been warming up for the past few years. Now, all that training is coming together for one moment, for the diamond dive."

All 16 rings were found within 15 minutes, and emerging victorious with the genuine engagement ring was Nick Musetti, who admitted he didn't have a significant other.

"I'm thinking about selling it because I don't have anyone to give it to," he lamented.

Check out the fun video below...


Images: Screen captures via YouTube; Facebook/Sugar Shell; Facebook/Star 98.
May 3rd, 2016
Americans will be spending more than $4.2 billion on jewelry gifts for their moms this Mother's Day, according to survey results just released by the National Retail Federation. That dollar amount places "jewelry" at the top of all gift categories — a place it has occupied for four of the past five years.

Adult daughter giving to her mother gift for Mother's Day while

The survey revealed that 35.4% of adults have jewelry on their Mother's Day shopping lists this year, up from 34.2% in 2015 and 31.7% in 2014. Nearly four in 10 men (39.2%) plan to purchase a jewelry item for the special moms in their world, while 31.7% of woman plan to do the same.

The average cost of a Mother's Day jewelry gift will be $95.71, with men expecting to spend $117.79 and women $69.82.

Total Mother's Day gift spending is expected to reach $21.4 billion in 2016, up slightly from $21.2 billion in 2015. Overall, men will spend $197.77 on Mother's Day gifts this year, while women will spend $147.99.

While jewelry remains to top category in terms of dollars spent, other strong categories include "special outings" ($4.1 billion), flowers ($2.4 billion), gift cards ($2.2 billion), consumer electronics ($1.9 billion), apparel ($1.9 billion) and personal services, such as spa treatments ($1.6 billion).

Mother’s Day greeting cards are still a gifting staple, with 78% of consumers reporting that they will buy a card for their moms. Total spending on cards will reach $792 million in 2016, according to the NRF.

The biggest spenders this Mother’s Day are expected to be 25- to 34-year-olds ($248.88). Their 18- to 24-year-old counterparts plan to spend an average of $188.87.

Mother's Day continues to draw wide interest and participation across all demographic groups. Overall, 84.4% of adults surveyed said they would be celebrating Mother's Day in 2016. That participation rate grows to about 95% for adults 18 to 34.

“Mother’s Day is the time when millions of Americans find special ways to express their love and gratitude for Mom,” said analyst Pam Goodfellow of Prosper Insights & Analytics, which conducted the survey of 7,000 consumers for the NRF. “While many will spend a little more than usual to pamper her, some consumers will provide unique experience gifts for the entire family to enjoy together.”

Don't forget: Mother's Day is this Sunday, May 8!

Image: Bigstockphoto.com
May 4th, 2016
Described as "impossibly rare" and "a complete fluke of nature," the largest violet diamond ever found at Australia's Argyle mine could sell for $5 million or more.

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The 2.83-carat polished oval-shaped diamond, known as The Argyle Violet, will headline the 2016 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, the annual showcase of the rarest diamonds from the Argyle mine in Western Australia.

The Rio Tinto-owned mine generates more than 90% of the world's pink diamonds, and on rare occasion will yield a violet stone. In the past 32 years, Argyle has produced only 12 carats of polished violet diamonds for its annual tender. In fact, before the discovery of The Argyle Violet, the mine had delivered just one other 1-carat-plus violet-colored diamond — and that was in 2008.

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The Argyle Violet is "a complete fluke of nature," Josephine Archer from Argyle Pink Diamonds told Yahoo7 News.

Rio Tinto’s general manager of sales Patrick Coppens added, “Impossibly rare and limited by nature, The Argyle Violet will be highly sought after for its beauty, size and provenance.”

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Argyle’s master polisher Richard How Kim Kam worked for more than 80 hours cutting the 9.17-carat oddly-shaped rough diamond into its perfectly symmetrical final form. More than 69% of the diamond's weight was lost during the cutting process.

The Argyle Violet was assessed a color grade of "Fancy Deep Greyish Bluish Violet" by the Gemological Institute of America. Violet diamonds owe their unique color to the presence of hydrogen atoms in the chemical composition of the stone.

Experts believe The Argyle Violet is sure to attract offers of $1 million to $2 million per carat at Argyle's annual tender. That would put its selling price somewhere between $2.8 million and $5.6 million.

Argyle Pink Diamonds manager Josephine Johnson said, “We are very excited to announce this historic diamond ahead of our Tender launch. This stunning violet diamond will capture the imagination of the world’s leading collectors and connoisseurs.”

Credits: Images courtesy of Rio Tinto.
May 5th, 2016
One of the world's most spectacular examples of May's official birthstone is the 75.47-carat Hooker Emerald, an historic gem that was once mounted into the belt buckle of an Ottoman sultan.

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Today, it is beautifully displayed in a platinum brooch adorned with 109 brilliant-cut diamonds weighing approximately 13 carats. When Janet Annenberg Hooker donated the piece in 1977 to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., it was valued at $500,000. Based on inflation alone, today it would be worth $2.03 million.

If the name Janet Annenberg Hooker sounds a bit familiar, it may be because the renowned philanthropist and publishing heiress was the principal benefactor of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Her cash donation to the museum of $5 million allowed for the construction of a fabulous gallery, which was named the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals.

The emerald brooch designed by Tiffany & Co. is an open-ended circular band of platinum. The two ends of the band curl outward into scrolls and are connected by a large round brilliant-cut diamond. Spokes cross the band and converge in the center, forming the setting for the Hooker Emerald.

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The emerald was mined in Colombia in the 16th or 17th century and was sent to Europe by Spanish conquistadors to be cut and polished. The gem was sold to the ruling family of the Ottoman Empire and became part of the crown jewels during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II (1876-1909). The sultan reportedly wore the emerald mounted into his belt buckle.

In 1908, the emerald was smuggled to Paris on behalf of the sultan, who hoped the proceeds from its sale would ensure him a comfortable life in exile should he be dethroned by a revolution. The sultan never received the anticipated windfall. The money raised by the sale of the gem went to the succeeding government.

The massive emerald had been auctioned to Tiffany & Co, which initially set it in a tiara. Despite its beauty, the tiara remained unsold for decades. In 1950, the emerald was re-set into a brooch that included matching earrings. Five years later, the brooch was purchased by Hooker. In 1977, she donated it to the Smithsonian.

The Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals that was named in her honor was officially opened in September of 1997, just three months before she passed away at the age of 93.

Lush green emeralds have excited legions of gem admirers for thousands of years. The first emerald mines were in Egypt, and Cleopatra was known to favor this, the most famous member of the beryl family. The name "emerald" comes indirectly from the ancient Greek word for green, “smaragdos.” Ancient Romans believed emerald could relieve eyestrain, and the grass-green emerald was said to be one of the four precious stones given by God to King Solomon.

Besides being the birthstone for the month of May, it's also the official gemstone for 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries.

Credit: Hooker Emerald by Chip Clark, courtesy Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History; Sultan Abdul Hamid II (public domain).
May 6th, 2016
Welcome to Music Friday when we often bring you uplifting songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Canadian recording artist Kelita performs "Tears," an inspirational song about inner healing and overcoming adversity.

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In this song, Kelita compares herself to a sparrow with broken wings. But, instead of accepting her fate of never being able to "fly," she describes how the Holy One will take away the pain by cradling her teardrops and transforming them into precious stones.

She sings, "Shimmering diamonds, rubies of red / Bright as the blood that my dear Savior shed / Emeralds of green, sapphires of blue / He’ll take away your teardrops / Turn them into jewels."

"Tears" first appeared in 2000 on Kelita's Naked Soul album, a work that earned a nomination for a Juno Award (Canada's version of a Grammy) for Best Gospel Album. Kelita also included the song as the final track of her Heart of a Woman album in 2010.

Born Kelita Haverland in Alberta, Canada, the singer/songwriter/actress/comedian draws her strength from having overcome a series of seemingly insurmountable life challenges. As a child, she suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her sibling. Her alcoholic father committed suicide and then her mother died from cancer. Her abusive sibling later died from a heroin overdose, and Kelita nearly lost her own life in a terrible auto accident.

Kelita's official website explains that the artist writes, sings and speaks what is gleaned from her own life experiences. From a relentless life of tragedy to triumph, the lessons are shared with a transparency and honesty that engages, encourages and inspires. Her ability to touch and penetrate the hearts of audiences is what drives her success.

Kelita is credited with giving the first break to an aspiring 19-year-old singer name Eileen Twain. The teenager from Timmins, Ontario, sang backup on Kelita's hit song, "Too Hot to Handle." Today, that up-and-coming young singer is known as Shania Twain.

We know you will enjoy the audio clip of Kelita singing "Tears." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Tears"
Written and performed by Kelita Haverland.
Tiny little sparrow fell from the tree
Sometimes I feel that little wounded sparrow is me
Tiny broken wings that never will fly
I wonder does her little heart know how to cry

Chorus:
Does her heart know how to cry
Are her tears gently falling inside
Crying tears she’s been trying to hide
Does her heart know how to cry like mine

Warm velvet words poured like sweet honey from his tongue
Until tonight I’d never heard the Holy one
He said that he would cradle every teardrop in His hand
He’d take away their pain and turn them into precious gems

Jesus knows the tears that you've cried
And he has seen them falling inside
Crying tears you've been trying to hide
Jesus knows the tears that you've cried like mine

Bridge:
Shimmering diamonds, rubies of red
Bright as the blood that my dear Savior shed
Emeralds of green, sapphires of blue
He’ll take away your teardrops
Turn them into jewels

Jesus knows the tears that you've cried
And he has seen them falling inside
Crying tears you've been trying to hide
Jesus knows, Jesus knows, Jesus knows the tears that you've cried like mine


Credit: Promotional image via www.kelita.com.
May 9th, 2016
The greatest diamond find in more than a century — the 1,109-carat gem-quality "Lesedi la Rona" — is expected to fetch at least $70 million when it goes under the hammer at what promises to be an electrifying stand-alone sale at Sotheby's London on June 29.



The $70 million figure would set a record for the highest price ever paid for a gemstone at auction, surpassing the $48.5 million achieved by the 12.03-carat Blue Moon of Josephine diamond at Sotheby's in November of 2015.



In its current rough state, Lesedi La Rona is the size of a tennis ball. When cut and polished, it could yield a D-color diamond weighing more than 400 carats. The current record for the largest top-quality faceted diamond in existence is held by the 530.20-carat Great Star of Africa, which was the largest of nine diamonds carved from the legendary 3,016-carat Cullinan Diamond more than a century ago. The Great Star of Africa is now part of the British Crown Jewels.



Unearthed by Lucara Diamond Corp. at its Karowe mine in Botswana in 2015, Lesedi la Rona means "Our Light" in the Tswana language spoken by the Botswana people. Sotheby's is calling Lesedi la Rona "The Diamond of a Lifetime."

When we first wrote about Lesedi la Rona in November 2015, Lucara had reported its weight to be 1,111 carats. The new weight of 1,109 reflects a loss of 2 carats during the cleaning process, which is normal, a Sotheby's spokesperson told NationalJeweler.com.

According to the Gemological Institute of America, the Lesedi la Rona’s “top color and transparency exemplify the 'limpid' appearance commonly associated with Type IIa diamonds” – a rare and coveted subgroup which comprises less than 2% of all gem diamonds. Stones in this group are “the most chemically pure and often show extraordinary optical transparency."

Independent reports on the potential yield of the rough have stated that the Lesedi la Rona may have the potential to yield the largest top-quality diamond that has ever been cut and polished.

“The Lesedi la Rona is simply outstanding and its discovery is the find of a lifetime," commented David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s Jewelry Division. "It is a huge honor for Sotheby’s to have been entrusted with its sale. Every aspect of this auction is unprecedented. Not only is the rough superlative in size and quality, but no rough even remotely of this scale has ever been offered before at public auction.”

The Lesedi la Rona will be on view at Sotheby’s London from June 18-28, ahead of its auction in the evening of June 29.

Credits: Donald Bowers/Getty Images for Sotheby's.
May 10th, 2016
They say, "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” and that's certainly the case for Greg Nottingham, whose perfectly planned marriage proposal took an unexpected turn of epic proportions.

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The Provo, Utah, resident had picked a glorious day, the perfect diamond engagement ring and a scenic riverside setting for a romanic picnic with his girlfriend of five years, Sax Brinkley, and their dog, Bella. What's more, he also arranged for some friends to secretly photograph the exact moment Nottingham would pop the question to the love of his life.

At first, everything seemed to be going swimmingly.

When the timing was just right, Nottingham smoothly pulled a ring box from his jacket pocket and went down on one knee. As he opened the box, it became frighteningly clear that something very important was missing.

"There's nothing in it," exclaimed Brinkley as her mortified boyfriend froze in horror.

Fortunately for Nottingham, Brinkley has a wonderful sense of humor. All she could do was chuckle at the classic blunder.

Trying to make the best of a bad situation, Nottingham joked, "This is the part where I get down on one knee and show you a really pretty ring."

Nottingham had picked up the wrong box on his way to the picnic and left the actual engagement ring at home.

Despite the epic goof, Nottingham was undaunted as he continued with the marriage proposal — ring or no ring.

"Will you be mine forever and always, and for the rest of your life?" he asked.

"Yes, yes," she answered.

Then he lifted her into his arms.

As their friends filmed the couple, Brinkley wore a wide grin and repeated, "He forgot the ring! He forgot the ring!"

Later, Nottingham explained the circumstance that led to the embarrassing situation...

"I got the wrong box," he said. "Before I left the house, I put this coat on and just felt the pocket, which had a box in it. I didn't think to check it. The box I picked up was the gift box. The box with the ring [was] in another jacket."

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After the picnic, the couple dashed home so Nottingham could give Brinkley her engagement ring. From the photo posted on Brinkley's Facebook page, it was clear the bride-to-be loved her new bling.

Despite the happy ending, Nottingham realized that his embarrassing story is now part of marriage proposal folklore.

"I'll have to live with that moment for the rest of my life," he said. Check out the video at The Daily Mail...

Credits: Video screen capture via Mail Online; Facebook/Saxanie Brinkley.
May 11th, 2016
Back in November of 2015, Canada-based Lucara enjoyed an uncanny stroke of good luck when its workers discovered two enormous gem-quality rough diamonds at its Karowe Mine in Botswana. The pair tipped the scales at a combined 1,922 carats — or just shy of a 14 ounces.

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The larger of the two — the 1,109-carat Lesedi la Rona — will be offered for sale at Sotheby's London on June 29. The smaller of the two — The Constellation — just set a record when the 813-carat gem was purchased by Dubai-based Nemesis International for $63.1 million. It was the highest price ever paid for a rough diamond.

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The record is likely to be short lived because the Lesedi la Rona is expected to fetch at least $70 million in London. If Lesedi la Rona earns the same $77,649 per-carat as its Lucara stablemate, it is likely to garner upwards of $86 million.

Both diamonds have been rated Type IIa by the Gemological Institute of America. Diamonds in this rare and coveted subgroup are chemically pure and often show extraordinary optical transparency.

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As part of the deal with Nemesis International, Lucara retained a 10% interest in the net profit from the sale of the faceted diamond (or diamonds) The Constellation will yield after cutting and polishing.

Lesedi la Rona is being billed by Sotheby's as "The Diamond of a Lifetime" because it's the biggest rough diamond to be unearthed in more than a century. Only the 3,016-carat Cullinan Diamond, discovered in 1905, was larger. The Constellation, at 813 carats, is the sixth largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found, according to NationalJeweler.com.

It's hard to imagine how improbable it was for Lucara to secure two such extraordinary diamonds within days of each other in the same area of a single diamond mine — in this case, the south lobe of the Karowe Mine.

Credits: Facebook/Lucara Diamond Corporation.
May 12th, 2016
As a clever sequel to his two outrageous pizza innovations — the pizza-topped pizza and the pizza-box pizza — Sean Berthiaume of Vinnie’s Pizzeria in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, introduced a mini pizza-box pizza that’s designed to hold an engagement ring.

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Imagine popping the question using one of Berthiaume’s culinary masterpieces and then sealing the deal by gobbling the delicious box like the pooches in the spaghetti scene from Disney’s Lady and the Tramp.

Along with a photo of the new creation, Vinnie’s Pizzeria posted this caption to its Instagram page: “Mini Pizza Box Pizza for the pizza lover on the go. Handheld, for your pleasure. Great for a quick snack or use it to propose to your significant other, whatever you’d like!"

Berthiaume’s engaging personality and outrageous menu items have earned tons of publicity for the Vinnie’s Pizzeria locations in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

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Last June, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel of Jimmy Kimmel Live! called Berthiaume an “American hero” for inventing the pizza-topped pizza. Via a live feed from the Williamsburg pizzeria, Kimmel interviewed the proprietor in a hilarious five-minute segment, during which Berthiaume explained exactly what goes into the pizza and how he came up with the idea.

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Then, last month, the innovative pizza proprietor shook up the internet when he revealed the pizza-box pizza, a product that is delicious and environmentally friendly.

“I get ticked off when people ask for a box when they’re eating here,” Berthiaume told BuzzFeed.com. “There’s no point. It fills the trash can. So I thought, ‘What if you could just eat the box?’”

So, Berthiaume designed a box made of pizza that holds, you guessed it, another pizza. The pizza-box pizza is composed of three parts: the box, which is a Sicilian pizza; the box top, which is made of garlic bread; and the contents — the requested pizza.

He told BuzzFeed.com that it takes about an hour to make a pizza-box pizza, compared to the normal 10 to 15 minutes for a regular pizza. The pizza-box pizzas are priced accordingly at $40 each.

Before you run out to Vinnie’s to get engaged, please note that the mini pizza-box pizza is an off-the-menu item and must be ordered in advance.

Credits: Instagram.com/vinniesbrooklyn.
May 13th, 2016
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In today's selection, John Lennon of The Beatles performs the lead vocals to "Anna," the third track of the legendary group's 1963 debut album, Please Please Me.

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In the song, Lennon woefully accepts the fact that his girlfriend is in love with another man. He sings, "Anna, just one more thing girl / You give back your ring to me / And I will set you free / Go with him."

Written and originally recorded by Arthur Alexander, "Anna" was a favorite of Lennon, who recommended that The Beatles cover it for Please Please Me. When Alexander released his version in 1962, it peaked on the Billboard chart at a modest #68. One year later, it would be included on one of the most famous albums of all time — a work that would launch the careers of The Fab Four.

The album Please Please Me was released in the U.K. in March 1963 and in the U.S. in January of 1964 by Vee-Jay Records under the name Introducing... The Beatles. Interestingly, the U.S. version stalled for nine weeks at #2 on the Billboard album chart. The #1 album during the same period was Meet The Beatles on Capitol Records.

Music critics noted that Lennon's raspy vocals on "Anna" reflected a "tortured pain." One explanation is that Lennon had a terrible cold during the historic session of February 1, 1963, when The Beatles recorded 11 songs in 10 hours.

Another oddity about the song is its subtitle (Go to Him). The lyrics of both Alexander's and The Beatles' versions clearly state "Go with him."

The Beatles went on to become the best-selling band in history, with 177 million certified records in the U.S. and 600 million records worldwide.

We invite you to enjoy the audio track of Lennon and The Beatles performing “Anna.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

"Anna (Go to Him)"
Written by Arthur Alexander. Performed by The Beatles.

Anna, you come and ask me girl
To set you free, girl
You say he loves you more than me
So I will set you free
Go with him
(Anna)
Go with him
(Anna)

Anna, girl, before you go now
I want you to know now
That I still love you so
But if he loves you more
Go with him

All of my life
I've been searching for a girl
To love me like I love you
Oh, now

But every girl I've ever had
Breaks my heart and leaves me sad
What am I, what am I supposed to do?
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Anna, just one more thing girl
You give back your ring to me
And I will set you free
Go with him

All of my life
I've been searching for a girl
To love me like I love you
But let me tell you now

But every girl I've ever had
Breaks my heart and leaves me sad
What am I, what am I supposed to do?
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Anna, just one more thing girl
You give back your ring to me
And I will set you free
Go with him
(Anna)
Go with him
(Anna)
You can go with him girl
(Anna)
Go with him


Credit: The Beatles promotional image.
May 16th, 2016
And the amazing diamonds just keep coming... On May 31, Christie's Hong Kong will be putting up for bid the "Aurora Green," an ultra-rare fancy vivid green diamond that could set a new auction record for the highest price per carat ever paid for any gemstone.

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Christie's estimated the rectangular-shaped 5.03-carat Aurora Green to be valued between $16.2 million and $20.1 million, or at the high end about $4 million per carat. The current record holder is the "Blue Moon of Josephine," a 12.03-carat vivid blue diamond that sold in November 2015 for $48.5 million, or $4.03 million per carat.

Experts believe the Aurora Green has a legitimate shot at breaking the record at Christie's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels sale because of its combination of rarity, size, color and quality. The green gem, which owes its color to the natural radiation present during its formation inside the earth, is the largest, natural fancy, vivid green diamond in the world. “Vivid” is the most saturated color intensity for green diamonds, and while "fancy intense" green diamonds come to auction frequently, "fancy vivid" green diamonds are almost unheard of.

Asian bidders might be particularly attracted to the Aurora Green because that color symbolizes health, prosperity and harmony in Chinese culture.

According to the Diamond Investment & Intelligence Center, the only other time a fancy vivid green diamond has come to auction was in the midst of the global financial crisis in 2009. In November of that year, Sotheby's sold a 2.52-carat fancy vivid green diamond at its Geneva event for $3.07 million.

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The Aurora Green diamond is presented in a pink diamond halo setting. The Gemological Institute of America described the green gem as a “cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant” with a clarity of VS2.

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Vickie Sek, Christie’s deputy chairman and head of jewels for Asia, told ARTINFO that the Aurora Green got its name from nature's phenomenal light shows — the aurora borealis and aurora australis, also known as the Northern or Southern Lights. She said the diamond's saturated color and scintillation emulates the "magical display of dancing lights that can only be seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres."

"While the auroral displays appear in a spectrum of colors, the vibrant, vivid greens are the most anticipated and admired," she said.

Credits: Aurora Green images courtesy of Christie's. Northern lights by Varjisakka (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.
May 17th, 2016
Chicago Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo showed off his tender side on Saturday when he assisted lifelong fan, Steve Milsap, with a surprise marriage proposal.

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Earlier in the day, the red-hot Rizzo, who is hitting .373 in the month of May for the first-place Cubs, smashed a three-run homer in an 8-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. But even more unforgettable than the game was what happened that same evening at the Fanatics sports memorabilia show in Chicago.

Show organizers had arranged for Milsap and his girlfriend, Leslie, to meet Rizzo for a photo op and autograph signing. The unsuspecting girlfriend was told that the special Rizzo meet-and-greet was a surprise was for her nine-year-old daughter, who idolizes the 26-year-old phenom.

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After posing for a few photos with the family, Rizzo turned to Milsap and said, "Steve, do you have any questions you want to ask."

Milsap took a step toward his girlfriend and said, "Leslie, from the day that I met you I knew you were the one."

"No," said Leslie.

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"Yes," countered her smiling boyfriend. Then he pulled a ring box from his pocket, went down on one knee and popped the question.

"Will you marry me?" he asked.

"Yes. Oh my, God. Oh my," she answered, as memorabilia show onlookers shouted their approval.

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Rizzo then presented the couple with a Cubs jersey with the words "Marry Me" and Rizzo's number "44" embroidered on the back. Milsap asked if Rizzo would sign the jersey and he was happy to oblige.

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound athlete seemed to love his role as Cupid. "She was really excited and she started crying," said Rizzo. "It's awesome for them."

"I'm still in shock right now," said Leslie.

Milsap thanked Rizzo and the show coordinators.

"We couldn't have done it without Fanatics," said Milsap. "We want to thank everybody who helped out. It was amazing."

Check out the heartwarming 67-second video here...


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube/Fanatics
May 18th, 2016
The 15.38-carat "Unique Pink," the largest pear-shaped fancy vivid pink diamond ever offered at auction, lived up to its pre-sale fanfare by fetching $31.5 million at Sotheby's Geneva last night. It was the highest price ever paid for a fancy vivid pink diamond.

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The much-anticipated final lot of Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels & Noble Jewels sale — Lot #495 — sparked a five-minute bidding war that started with an opening offer of 24 million Swiss francs (about $25.5 million). Six subsequent bids propelled the price up to 27.3 million Swiss francs. With the buyer's commission included, the final price was 30.82 million Swiss francs (or $31.56 million).

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Previously, the record for a fancy vivid pink diamond was held by "Sweet Josephine," a 16.08-carat beauty that sold for $28.5 million at Christie's Geneva in November of 2015.

Sotheby's had estimated that the Unique Pink would sell in the range of $27.5 million to $37.3 million.

The Unique Pink, which boasts the highest possible color grading of "fancy vivid," had been characterized as one of the finest pink diamonds of all time. Sotheby's Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division, David Bennett, had described the diamond's color as "simply astonishing."

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“It is difficult to imagine a diamond that better illustrates the term ‘vivid pink’ than this outstanding stone,” noted Bennett.

The gem also stood apart because of its impressive size and "exceedingly pure" Type IIa clarity rating.

The Unique Pink was so special that it headlined a multi-city promotional tour that included stops in Hong Kong, London and New York City, before returning to Geneva for the auction.

It is believed that pink diamonds owe their color to the effects of intense pressure and heat while they were still deep within the earth. These factors caused distortions in the diamond’s crystal lattice that influence the way the diamond absorbs green light, thus reflecting a pink hue.

Credits: Unique Pink photos courtesy of Sotheby’s. Auction screen capture via Sothebys.com.
May 19th, 2016
Last night, the "Oppenheimer Blue" became the highest priced gemstone ever sold at auction. The 14.62-carat fancy vivid blue diamond, dubbed "the gem of gems," fetched an astounding $57.5 million at Christie's Geneva.

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Two bidders battled back and forth for more than 20 minutes in a dramatic exchange that included 44 individual offers. The bidding started at 30 million Swiss francs (about $30.4 million) and rushed forward in increments of 1 million, 500,000 and 200,000 Swiss francs.

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Watching the action in real-time via streaming video, viewers around the world joined in the excitement as the bidding moved well above the pre-sale high estimate of 45 million Swiss Francs ($45.6 million).

Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s International Head of Jewelry, finally put the hammer down at 50.6 million Swiss francs ($51.2 million) to the roar of the showroom crowd. With commissions and fees included, the final price was 56.8 million Swiss francs ($57.5 million). That number was $9 million more than the previous record-holder, the "Blue Moon of Josephine," which sold at Sotheby's Geneva in November 2015 for $48.5 million.

Both diamonds boast the top color grade of "fancy vivid." While the 12.03-carat cushion-shaped Blue Moon of Josephine was rated internally flawless, the rectangular-cut Oppenheimer Blue was one grade below at VVS1 clarity.

The Oppenheimer Blue's price per carat price of $3.93 million came up just shy of the record of $4.03 million held by the Blue Moon of Josephine.

Named after Sir Philip Oppenheimer, one of the leaders of the diamond industry for generations, the Oppenheimer Blue was the largest fancy vivid blue diamond ever offered at auction.

Kadakia had called the Oppenheimer Blue "the gem of gems,” and “one of the rarest gems in the world.” He was impressed by its perfect hue, impeccable proportions and fabulous rectangular shape. The magnificent gem was offered for sale in its original platinum mounting by Verdura.

During the auction, he encourage the bidding by reminding the audience that this type of gem comes around only once in a lifetime. According to Christie's, less than .0001 percent of all diamonds mined are blue. Blue diamonds owe their color to the presence of boron in the chemical makeup of the gem.

Credit: Image courtesy of Christie's. Screen capture via Christies.com.
May 20th, 2016
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, 17-year-old Emily Ann Roberts — who wowed us on Season 9 of The Voice — sings about a class ring in the Patsy Cline classic, "She's Got You."

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Originally a #1 country hit for Cline in 1962 and then again for Loretta Lynn in 1977, "She's Got You" is about a heartbroken woman who reminisces about romantic mementos of a relationship gone bad.

Roberts' rousing rendition of "She's Got You" paid a fitting tribute to the country legends that came before her. She sings, "I've got your class ring that proved you cared / And it still looks the same as when you gave it, dear / The only thing different, the only thing new / I've got these little things, she's got you."

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Roberts' outstanding performance earned her accolades from Blake Shelton, her coach on The Voice. “I can’t stop smiling right now," said Shelton. "My heart is pounding. That was so good… I want people at home to know I have never had a better collaborator in nine seasons than Emily Ann. She is so smart and knows who she is as an artist."

"She's Got You" was so well received by the viewers of The Voice that the song made it into the iTunes Top 10 and ascended to #21 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Roberts' performance of "She's Got You" was also included in The Complete Season 9 Collection, a compilation album of songs featured on The Voice.

As the runner-up to Season 9 champion Jordan Smith, Roberts is well on her way to a successful music career. The Knoxville, Tenn., native told Extra how she's planning to go for a Dixie Chicks vibe. “They are that perfect mix of country and bluegrass and that’s exactly who I am," she said. "So I would definitely have tons of bluegrass influences but it will be a solid country album.”

Songwriter Hank Cochran told Patsy Cline biographer Ellis Nassour that in 1961 he called the country star and told her he'd just written her next #1 hit. Cline invited Cochran to come over to her house and play the song on guitar. She immediately fell in love with the song and learned it that same night. Excitedly, she called her producer, Owen Bradley, and sang it to him on the phone. At that point, Cline and Bradley were certain they had a hit — and they did.

Since 1962, "She's Got You" has been covered by an all-star group of music artists, including Rosanne Cash, LeAnn Rimes, Timi Yuro, Jimmy Buffet, Lee Ann Womack and Loretta Lynn.

We know you will enjoy the video of Roberts' live performance of "She's Got You" on The Voice. It's been viewed more than 840,000 times on YouTube. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"She's Got You"
Written by Hank Cochran. Performed by Emily Ann Roberts.

I've got your picture that you gave to me
And it's signed with love, just like it used to be
The only thing different, the only thing new
I've got your picture, she's got you

I've got the records that we used to share
And they still sound the same as when you were here
The only thing different, the only thing new
I've got the records, she's got you

I've got your memory, or has it got me
I really don't know, but I know it won't let me be

I've got your class ring that proved you cared
And it still looks the same as when you gave it, dear
The only thing different, the only thing new
I've got these little things, she's got you

I've got your memory, or has it got me
I really don't know, but I know it won't let me be

I've got your class ring that proved you cared And it still looks the same as when you gave it, dear The only thing different, the only thing new
I've got these little things, she's got you


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube/The Voice
May 23rd, 2016
When Jimmy Fallon mentions your marriage proposal during his opening monologue on The Tonight Show, you know you've done something momentous.

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Last weekend, New York City television producer A.J. Hall enlisted the help of his girlfriend's boss and the Sony Jumbotron in Times Square to deliver an epic proposal to Nicole Pagano.

Pagano, who is a communications associate for The Daily Mail, was out with some friends when her boss called saying he unexpectedly had to leave town. He asked Pagano if she would like to have his reservations at the swank Polo Bar, a place she's always wanted to go. In addition, he asked her to be in Times Square at exactly 9:15 to view a Daily Mail video that would be debuting at that time on the mammoth Jumbotron at 1 Times Square, the same building that hosts the descending Apple on New Year's Eve.

Pagano called Hall with the good news and the two planned for an exciting night on the town. The date marked the two-year anniversary of their first date. Unbeknownst to Pagano, the Polo Bar/Jumbotron story was an elaborate ruse devised by Hall.

She and Hall arrived at the the four-story-tall video board at exactly the right time, but it was showing an odd piece that made no mention of The Daily Mail. The video depicted images of New York City landmarks and then a series of titles that completed a message: "We Fell In Love — Tonight — History — Happens — Again — Are You Ready?”

“I was just thinking, ‘I can’t believe they approved this! It has nothing to do with the brand!’” Pagano told madworldnews.com

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But, then a bunch of images looked very familiar. Hall, a producer for Fox & Friends, had created a video that was a story of their relationship. The next image showed Hall kissing Pagano on the cheek and then one of Hall holding a large cue card with the phrase, "Marry Me?"

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Pagano screamed, "Oh my god!’ and held her hand over her mouth in disbelief as her boyfriend of two years knelt down in the middle of Times Square and popped the question with a diamond engagement ring in hand. Pagano's answer was a resounding "Yes," as onlookers cheered their approval.

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With the ring safely on her finger, Pagano kissed her fiancé and stared wide-eyed at the raucous Times Square crowd, which included a larger-than-life Elmo and Cookie Monster.

A moment later, Pagano's parents — who had been hiding out of site — emerged on the scene to offer the couple hugs and their congratulations.

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“She’s the best and she deserves the best, so I wanted the best possible idea,” A.J. told The Daily Mail. “I wanted to go big or go home.”

Last Wednesday night, the story caught the attention of Fallon and the comedy writers of The Tonight Show.

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"Here's a local story. I saw that a man from New York proposed to his girlfriend by playing a video on one of the giant billboards in Times Square," Fallon said to the "awws" of his studio audience.

"It was a beautiful moment until Times Square Elmo said (at this point, Fallon takes a puff from an invisible cigarette and transitions into his toughest New York City accent), 'I give it two months. They don't look like they like each other... Wanna take a picture?'"

Pagano noted the awesomeness of the moment with this post on her Facebook page...

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See Fallon's monologue here...

See the Times Square proposal below...


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube/Inside Edition and YouTube/Brian Michael Tully, NBC/Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon; Instagram/Nicole Pagano; Facebook/AJ Hall.
May 24th, 2016
Staffers of The Auschwitz Museum in southern Poland made a stunning discovery last week when an enameled mug's carefully constructed false bottom shook loose, revealing a small stash of gold jewelry.

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It's been more than 70 years since the liberation of the notorious Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in southern Poland, and staffers at the museum dedicated to the memory of those murdered at the camp are still uncovering fascinating secrets of how desperate families tried to preserve their valuables.

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“[The jewelry] was very well hidden,” noted Hanna Kubik of the Memorial Collections. “However, due to the passage of time, the materials underwent gradual degradation, and the second bottom separated from the mug."

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Under the false bottom was a women’s ring and a necklace wrapped in a piece of canvas. Both were made of 14-karat gold and fabricated in Poland between the years of 1921 and 1931.

The German Nazis of World War II routinely lied to deportees, telling them that they were being resettled in new locations and that they should take some luggage. The deportees, most of whom were Jews, were actually being transported to concentration camps for extermination. By allowing them to travel with luggage, the Nazis were certain the deportees would bring their valuables, which could be easily confiscated.

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The innovative ways in which the victims hid their most valuable possessions reflects their understanding of the "robbery nature of the deportation" as well as the "ray of hope that these items would be required for their existence," stressed Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum director Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński.

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The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp claimed an estimated 1.1 million lives during the Holocaust. While most of the victims were Jewish, the Germans also killed Poles, Gypsies, Byelorussians, Ukrainians, French, Soviets and others at the camp.

The Collections of the Memorial comprises more than 12,000-enameled kitchenware items, including cups, pots, bowls, kettles, jugs and crockery, many decorated with images of animals and children playing. The jewelry discovery occurred during routine maintenance of the collection.

Museum curators will be returning the jewelry of the false-bottom mug to its original state, reflecting the manner in which it had been hidden by its original owner.

Photos courtesy of the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, auschwitz.org.
May 25th, 2016
For thousands of years, wedding rings have been worn on the ring finger of the left hand, but do you know the origin of this worldwide tradition?

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Some give credit to the ancient Romans and Greeks, who believed that the vein in the fourth finger of the left hand (the vena amoris or vein of love) ran directly to the heart. Although the "vein of love" story is compelling and widely cited, a contemporary understanding of the circulatory systems has soundly debunked the science behind the legend.

We love the Chinese ring-finger hypothesis because it comes with a sweet explanation and even cooler demonstration.

The Chinese believe that each finger is a representation of the past, present and future generations of you and your family members. The thumb represents your parents, the index finger represents your siblings, the middle finger represents you, the ring finger represents your partner and the pinky represents your children.

Now give this a try...

1. Place your palms together as if you were praying.

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2. Then, with all the fingertips still touching, bend the middle fingers toward each other until their tips are pointing downward into your palm and the second knuckle of each middle finger is touching the other. Remember, the middle fingers represent you.

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3. Now, attempt to separate the pinkies. You certainly can, because the pinkies represent your children, who will eventually leave your home and build families of their own.

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4. The thumbs that represent your parents can separate easily, as well, because your parents are not destined to live with you forever.

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5. Your index fingers separate with no resistance, as these represent your siblings, who will go on to live life on their own.

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6. Now, attempt to separate the ring fingers, which represent you and your partner. They don't budge. No matter how much you try, they won't come apart.

The Chinese explanation, of course, is that the union between you and your partner is unbreakable, and a wedding ring worn on the ring finger represents a marriage that is meant to last forever.

Anatomically, here's how phenomenon works... There is a common muscle called Extensor Digitorum that has little connectors between the tendons that go to the backs of each finger that allow them to extend all the way. The thumb is separate, but in addition to this muscle, the pinky has a second muscle called Extensor Digiti Minimi and the pointer has a second muscle called Extensor Indicis. When you bend the middle fingers, you fix the tendons of the Extensor Digitorum and without a second muscle to assist, the ring finger is stuck.

A practical explanation of why the wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand focuses on the practicality of keeping the ring out of harm's way. Since most people of right-handed, wearing the ring of the left hand would make it less susceptible to damage. Also, the ring finger doesn't get as much work as, say, the thumb and index finger, so the little-used ring finger is a good place to display the bridal jewelry.

Credits: Bridal image by Bigstockphoto.com; Hand images by The Jeweler Blog.
May 26th, 2016
The 24.18-carat "Cullinan Dream," the largest fancy intense blue diamond ever to be offered at auction, could fetch upwards of $29 million at Christie's New York on June 9.

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Barely a week ago, the 14.62-carat "Oppenheimer Blue" set a new world record for any jewel sold at auction when it yielded $57.5 million at Christie's Geneva.

Even though the Cullinan Dream is nearly 10 carats larger than the Oppenheimer Blue, its likely selling price will be about half. This is because the Cullinan Dream's fancy intense blue color, VS2 clarity and Type IIb purity rating lies a tier below the Oppenheimer Blue's fancy vivid blue color, VVS1 clarity and Type IIa purity rating.

Still, the Cullinan Dream is a very special diamond. Billed as the top lot of Christie's Magnificent Jewels auction at Rockefeller Plaza, the Cullinan Dream is the largest of four polished diamonds cut from a 122.52-carat rough stone discovered by Petra Diamonds at its famed Cullinan Mine in South Africa back in June of 2014. Petra reportedly sold the rough diamond for an incredible $23.5 million.

A master gem cutter meticulously analyzed the rough gem to determine the best yield. He eventually produced four notably sized blue diamonds: a cushion-cut gem of 7.00 carats, a radiant-cut gem of 10.30 carats, a pear-shaped gem of 11.30 carats, and finally, the Cullinan Dream, a cut-cornered rectangular mixed-cut gem of 24.18 carats. Christie's set the pre-sale estimate at $23 million to $29 million.

Set as a ring, the June 9 headliner, Lot 261, is flanked by tapered baguettes in a platinum mounting inscribed "Cullinan Dream." The baguettes have a total weight of 2.36 carats.

Discovered in 1902, the Cullinan Mine is famous for being the source of many of the world's most famous diamonds, including a 3,106.75-carat Cullinan diamond that produced the 530.20-carat pear-shaped Cullinan I (also known as the Star of Africa), the largest polished white diamond in existence. The Cullinan I is housed in the Tower of London as part of the Crown Jewels of England.

The mine's production statistics are extraordinary: 750 stones weighing more than 100 carats, 130 stones weighing more than 200 carats, and more than a quarter of all diamonds in existence weighing more than 400 carats.

The mine is also a leading source for exceptional pink and blue diamonds. The Cullinan Dream owes its blue color to traces of boron in the diamond's chemical structure.

Credit: Image courtesy of Christie's.
May 27th, 2016
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, up-and-coming music star Jon Pardi sings about falling in love and growing old together in the easy-listening country hit, "Head Over Boots."

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He sings, "The way you sparkle like a diamond ring / Maybe one day we can make it a thing / Test time and grow old together / Rock in our chairs and talk about the weather, yeah."

The song was inspired by the loving couples Pardi observed in the dance halls near his father's home in Hill County, Texas. He said that everyone — both old and young alike — seemed so happy two-stepping around a circle, so he decided to write "Head Over Boots" with an old-school vibe energized by a fiddle accompaniment.

"I was sitting in Spring Branch, Texas, at my dad's house and I started kinda strummin' this little old-sounding country thing in his living room, and I recorded it on my phone," the 31-year-old Pardi said. "I was thinking, 'Man, I need a good love song for the ladies out there.'"

And that's when he came up with the idea of "head over boots," a country version of the term "head over heels."

"I went to [co-writer] Luke Laird and we kind of threw out the title and we came up with a cool little old-school modern new love song, and it's my first love song on Country radio," he said.

Pardi and Laird revealed to Billboard magazine that their feel-good song is actually written from two perspectives. The unwed Pardi sees the song from the point of view of someone looking for a long-term relationship, while his married writing partner approached the song from the vantage point of a family man who is dedicated to keeping the romantic spark alive in his relationship.

"Head Over Boots," which was released in 2015 and continues to make gains on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, is the lead single from Pardi's upcoming second studio album, California Sunrise. While the single has ascended to #13 on the Hot Country Songs chart, it has also gained cross-over appeal with a #77 placement on the mainstream U.S. Billboard Hot 100 list. The album is scheduled for a June 17 release.

Please check out the acoustic version of Pardi's "Head Over Boots." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Head Over Boots"
Written by Jon Pardi and Luke Laird. Performed by Jon Pardi.

I wanna sweep you off your feet tonight
I wanna love you and hold you tight
Spin you around on some old dance floor
Act like we never met before for fun, 'cause

You're the one I want, you're the one I need
Baby, if I was a king, ah, you would be my queen
You're the rock in my roll
You're good for my soul, it's true
I'm head over boots for you

The way you sparkle like a diamond ring
Maybe one day we can make it a thing
Test time and grow old together
Rock in our chairs and talk about the weather, yeah

So, bring it on in for that angel kiss
Put that feel good on my lips, 'cause

You're the one I want, you're the one I need
Baby, if I was a king, ah, you would be my queen
You're the rock in my roll
You're good for my soul, it's true
I'm head over boots for you

Yeah, I'm here to pick you up
And I hope I don't let you down, no, 'cause

You're the one I want, you're the one I need
Baby, if I was a king, ah, you would be my queen
You're the rock in my roll
You're good for my soul, it's true
I'm head over boots for you

You're the one I want, you're the one I need
Baby, if I was a king, ah, you would be my queen
You're the rock in my roll
You're good for my soul, it's true
I'm head over boots for you

I wanna sweep you off your feet tonight
I wanna love you and hold you tight
Spin you around on some old dance floor


Credit: Image via umgnashville.com (pressroom).
May 31st, 2016
Self-proclaimed master gamer Shane Birkinbine took his relationship with girlfriend Pam Edwards to the next level by building a marriage proposal into a custom level of their favorite video game using "Super Mario Maker."

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In a video that's been viewed on YouTube nearly one million times, we observe Edwards being coached by her boyfriend through a custom course he designed for the classic Super Mario Bros. video game. She carefully maneuvers through the level, earning gold coins along the way, but she's so intent on successfully completing the course that she's unaware that the last leg includes a special message spelled out in blocks.

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As her screen character earns "star power" and knocks out a few of the lower blocks that make up the bottom of the "P" in the word "Pam," Edwards is asked by her boyfriend to take a closer look at the screen.

“Babe, what does that say?” he asks.

"Where?" she responds.

"The blocks," he says. "It spells out your name, I think."

"How did you do that?" the surprise girlfriend asks.

"Master gamer," he responds. "It says, 'Pam.'"

"Babe! How did you do that?" asks the girlfriend, this time with a more excited tone.

Knowing that the blocks are spelling out a message, she carefully guides her character around them, instead of crashing through them. "I don't want to break it," she says.

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She laughs and blissfully screams "babe" four times as her game character runs across the course revealing the rest of the message: "Will you marry me."

"Yes, of course," affirms Edwards as she breaks into tears.

Birkinbine declares, "Yay. She said, 'Yes.' I love you, babe."

"I love you," she says.

Birkinbine posted the video to YouTube on May 21 with the caption, "Hope everyone enjoys just a bit of our special moment. Geeks do it better!" The touching display of creativity and affection quickly went viral, with viewership heading toward one million and media outlets picking up the story from every corner of the world. Among them were the Huffington Post, Time, NPR, Mashable, USA Today, Inquirer, Daily Mail and Yahoo News.

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The romantic gamer acknowledged that the viral nature of the video can be credited to his fiancée's reaction.

"The positive comments make it all worth it... people like a feel-good story," wrote Birkinbine in the comments section of his YouTube video. "Just never thought it would come from our little corner of the world. This video is nothing without her reaction. She is the star."

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The romantic groom-to-be appropriately proposed with an engagement ring balanced atop a Super Mushroom, also known as a Power-Up Mushroom, originated in Super Mario Bros.

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Super Mario Maker, which was released in September of 2015, allows players to create and play their own custom levels based on Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. U. A neat publishing tool allows the custom courses to be shared to the Internet. In May 2016, Nintendo announced that more than 7.2 million courses had been created worldwide.

Check out Birkinbine's viral video below...


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube/Retro Shanerator; Facebook/Shane Birkinbine; Super Mario Maker graphic by Nintendo.