Music Friday: Everything About Rock and Roll Icon Stevie Nicks Is ’24 Karat Gold’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, the spotlight shines on Rock and Roll icon Stevie Nicks as she sings “24 Karat Gold,” the title song from her 2014 album.

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In a recent interview, Nicks revealed that the song she penned in 1980 — but didn’t release until 2014 — was about her passionate, but short-lived, romance with Fleetwood Mac bandmate Mick Fleetwood.

“It was about our relationship and how desperate it was for a while,” she said. “But it had its 24-karat moments.”

For Nicks, 24-karat gold seems to represent perfection. The term comes up in the title of today’s featured song, numerous times in song’s lyrics (“There were dreams to be sold / My 24 karat gold”), in the title of her 2014 album (24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault) and the name of her current concert series (“The 24 Karat Gold Tour”).

While “24 Karat Gold” appears as the fourth single from Nicks’ eighth studio album, it was actually written 34 years earlier during the Bella Donna album sessions. The original 1981 no-frills demo, featuring Nicks playing the piano with an accompanying drum machine and bass, can be found on YouTube.

The 68-year-old Nicks is currently embarking on a seven-week, 27-city tour that kicked off in Phoenix (her birthplace) on October 25 and ends in Inglewood, Calif., on December 18. Last night, she appeared at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

The Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter is best known for her work with Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist. Collectively, she’s scored 40 top-50 hits and sold more than 140 million albums. Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album accounted for 40 million of those sales, making it the fifth-highest-selling album of all time.

Nicks was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and was selected by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the world’s top “100 Greatest Singers of All Time.”

Please check out the official lyric video of Nicks’ “24 Karat Gold.” You can also follow along with these lyrics below…

“24 Karat Gold”
Written and performed by Stevie Nicks.

Set me free, set me free
Is this what you wanted, to happen to me?
Golden wings in the sunset
Take me back
All alone I waited
But there was no one, out there

There were dreams to be sold (chain of chains)
My 24 karat gold (chain of chains)
There was some love to be sold (chain of chains)
You said you might be coming back to town (chain of chains)
All alone I waited

There was no one out there
In the rain she lay face down.
What is this freedom that she wanted
What kind of freedom…
What kind of game?

There were dreams to be sold (chain of chains)
My 24 karat gold (chain of chains)
There was some love to be sold (chain of chains)
You said you might be coming back to town (chain of chains)

Set me free, set me free
Is this what you wanted, to happen to me?
Golden wings in the sunset
Take me back
All alone I waited
But there was no one, out there

There were dreams to be sold (chain of chains)
You like my 24 karat gold, chain of chains
(chain of chains)
(chain of chains)
You like my 24 karat gold
(chain of chains)
Yes you like my 24 karat gold

Yeah
My love

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

‘Tanzanite: Born From Lightning’ Celebrates December’s Birthstone on the Eve of Its 50th Anniversary

In 1967, Maasai tribesmen discovered shockingly beautiful bluish-violet gems in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Samples were entrusted to a prospector named Manuel d’Souza, who shared the crystals with distinguished gemologists. Originally thought to be sapphires, the spectacular gems turned out to be an unusually vibrant blue variety of the mineral zoisite.

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The mesmerizing mineral quickly caught the attention of Tiffany & Co., which launched a campaign to market the gems as “tanzanite.” The name honors Tanzania, the only place on earth where tanzanite can be found. Tanzanite is one of the official birthstones for December.

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A Maasai folktale recounts how tanzanite came to be. Once upon a time, the story goes, lightning struck the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, scorching the land. In the aftermath, a spectacular blue crystal was left shimmering in the ashes.

That tale provided the subtitle and inspiration for a new coffee-table book, Tanzanite: Born From Lightning. Written by Hayley Henning, former executive director of the Tanzanite Foundation, and Didier Brodbeck, publisher of the French magazine Dreams, the 208-page book features dazzling jewelry from the world’s top brand names as well as first-hand accounts of how tanzanite was discovered and brought to market.

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The book showcases superb creations made by Boucheron, Bulgari, Cartier, Chanel, Chaumet, Chopard, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Piaget, Van Cleef & Arpels, Wallace Chan and more. There are also photos of uncut specimens weighing 100 carats or more.

In 2017, tanzanite will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its discovery. Once a mineral oddity, tanzanite has evolved into one of the most desirable gemstone varieties — thanks to the efforts of Tiffany and the rest of the jewelry industry. Tiffany’s marketing campaign earned tanzanite the noble title of “gem of the 20th century” and, in 2002, the American Gem Trade Association added tanzanite to the jewelry industry’s official birthstone list. Tanzanite joined turquoise and zircon as the official birthstones for December.

Tanzanite is said to be 1,000 times more rare than diamonds due the fact that tanzanite is mined in only one location on earth. The area measures 2km wide by 4km long and the remaining lifespan of the mine is just 30 years.

“There are no gemstones that fall into the same category as tanzanite,” Henning told Rapaport Magazine. “There is nothing that comes in really big sizes, gemmy, rare, velvety, gorgeous and affordable. Tanzanite has all these fantastic elements that make it so special and that is why designers love to work with it.”

“I am sure in time, as tanzanite becomes less and less available, people will understand just how rare and special it is,” she continued. “If you were to show consumers these gorgeous images in the book and ask them, ‘What do you think this gem costs?’ people would expect it to be so much more.”

Credits: Book cover by publisher 24 ORE Cultura S.r.l.; Tanzanite crystals by Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons; Faceted tanzanite by Gemologos2009 (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

‘Unprecedented’ 3,000-Year-Old, 20-Karat Gold Torc Unearthed in England

A metal-detector enthusiast in Cambridgeshire, England, has unearthed a spectacular 3,000-year-old torc made from 1.6 pounds of twisted and burnished 20-karat gold. Measuring nearly 50 inches around, the beautifully preserved golden torc is the largest ever found in the UK.

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Historically, a torc was worn as a neck-ring with the opening in the front, but the massive Bronze Age specimen pulled from a site 60 miles north of London was likely worn a different way, according to the British Museum’s Bronze Age curator, Neil Wilkin.

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Wilkin said the torc displayed “unprecedented” craftsmanship and may have been worn around the waist by a pregnant woman during a fertility ritual. Others believe it was worn as a sash, over thick winter clothing or by a prized goat or sheep in the course of a sacrifice.

The golden torc was found by an anonymous treasure hunter walking with his metal detector over a freshly plowed field.

The extraordinary torc was revealed at London’s British Museum on the day the Portable Antiquities Scheme and Treasure (PAS) delivered its annual report about the number of finds made by the public. PAS, which is managed by the museum, cataloged 82,272 discoveries made in the UK during 2015. Of that number, more than 1,000 were considered “treasure” because they were gold, silver or prehistoric metalwork. Since 1997, the number of artifacts recorded by the PAS has grown to more than 1.2 million.

The UK’s Treasure Act 1996 states that finders have a legal obligation to report all potential treasure to the local coroner in the district where the find was made. The Act allows a national or local museum to acquire the treasure for the public’s benefit and pay a reward, which is usually shared equally between the finder and landowner. The value of the golden torc has yet to be determined.

The area in which the torc was discovered is famous for being a hotbed of archaeological finds from the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. Cambridgeshire is one of the earliest-known Neolithic permanent settlements in the United Kingdom. The Neolithic period began in 10,200 BC and ended between 4,500 BC and 2,000 BC.

While the 3,000-year-old torc has a priceless historical value, its metal content alone is worth $25,585 at today’s gold price.

Credits: Images courtesy of the British Museum.

GIA Museum Acquires 63 ‘Mineral Marvels’ From the Hauser Collection

For more than 60 years, Californian Joel Hauser passionately pursued nature’s “mineral marvels” — ornamental specimens of exceptional size and beauty.

The Gemological Institute of America Museum in Carlsbad, Calif., recently acquired a cache of Hauser’s finest agates, geodes, minerals and petrified wood through a generous donation by the Hauser family.

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Many of the 63 standouts from the Joel and Barbara Hauser Mineral Collection represent pieces from places with restricted access or that are no longer producing, according to the GIA.

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GIA noted that on one of Hauser’s California expeditions, he discovered agate geodes in Riverside County’s Little Chuckwalla Mountains. Today, the area is known as the Hauser Geode Beds.

Hauser, who passed away in 1993, was a skilled lapidary and innovator. Not only did he master the art of contour polishing, but he also designed and modified saws and grinding equipment that could handle the cutting and polishing of almost any specimen, including large pieces of petrified wood.

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“His freeform, undulating polishing style adds interest and texture while removing blemishes, without having to grind away more material than necessary,” said Terri Ottaway, GIA’s museum curator. “Joel’s expertise, guided by an artistic eye and perspective, revealed the lovely patterns, markings and colors in the minerals.”

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Nearly 50 of Hauser’s most celebrated pieces are now on display at the GIA Museum. They will serve as as prime learning tools for students and visitors to GIA about mineral formation and lapidary artistry.

Credits: Azurite (Bisbee, AZ); Variscite (Utah); Laguna Iris Agate (Mexico); Petrified pinecone and wood (Argentina and Utah). All photos by Orasa Weldon; ©GIA.

Alchemy in the Modern Age: Russian Scientists Extract Gold From Coal

Scientists in the far eastern Amur River region of Russia are building a facility that can extract gold from ordinary coal. The announcement brings to mind the alchemists of ancient times, who sought to turn lead into gold.

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While the alchemists never found a way to transform base metals into precious metals, Russian scientists are reporting that after 15 years of research they finally have a commercially viable method for pulling trace amounts of gold from coal.

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Scientists capture minute particles of gold during the burning process. To secure the precious metal, smoke generated during combustion passes through a 100-fold purifying filter. The contaminants are washed out with water and the gold is captured by the filter.

For every ton of coal burned, one-half gram of gold can be recovered. At today’s gold price, the gold extracted from one ton of coal would be worth about $19. As the process is perfected, the researchers believe they can get 1 gram of gold from a ton of coal.

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The proof-of-concept experiments will continue this coming year as the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Far East branch will be adding the purifying system to one of the Amur region’s boiler houses. If the tests are successful, the team hopes to receive a grant to develop and implement an industrial-grade device, according to RT.com.

“We plan to use municipal boiler houses to implement our filtering system because they burn about eight to 10 thousand tons in a season, and that’s potentially 10 kilos of gold,” Oleg Ageev, CEO of Complex Innovative Technologies of the Amur Scientific Center, said in a press statement.

The Amur installation, which is near the Chinese border, will get into full gear once the temperatures warm up in the remote far eastern region of Russia. Because the filtering system uses water and part of the process takes place outdoors, it only works when the temperature is above freezing.

Coal is one of the most important sources of energy in Russia. The country produced 323 million tons of coal in 2009 and is estimated to have the second-largest coal reserves in the world at 173 billion tons. The U.S. has the largest coal reserves at 263 billion tons.

Credits: Coal mining photo by Peabody Energy, Inc. (Provided by Peabody Energy) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Gold bars by istara [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons. Map by GoogleMaps.com.

Grade-School Suitor Proposes to Sweetheart With a Very Real Diamond Ring He Stole From His Mom

A grade-school suitor named Tommy and his sweetheart, Millie, became social media stars this week when the video recounting their playground proposal — and remarkable engagement ring — went viral.

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While the idea of a little boy proposing to his crush is adorable, Tommy’s choice of ring is what made him an Internet star. You see, instead of surprising Millie with a candy Ring Pop or Haribo Jelly Ring, young Tommy proposed with a very real engagement ring he stole from his mom.

Millie’s dad recounts the story in a 54-second Facebook video that has been viewed 24 million times, and counting.

The video opens with the dad announcing that Millie has been proposed to at school.

“Who proposed to you, Millie?” he coyly asks, as a woman (presumably Millie’s mom) laughs uncontrollably in the background.

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At this point we see Millie for the the first time. The teeny blonde, who looks like she might be in first grade, reveals in a cute British accent that her suitor is classmate Tommy.

“So, Tommy’s proposed to Millie and she keeps telling us she’s got a ring in her bag,” the dad continues.

Millie’s dad explains that he and his wife were expecting to see a candy ring. In the UK, kids like to exchange Haribo rings, which are ring-shaped gummy candies.

The dad then asks Millie to get the ring that Tommy used for his proposal. A few seconds later, Millie hands it to her dad and we see that it’s not a candy ring at all.

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It’s, in fact, a very impressive three-stone engagement ring set in platinum or white gold.

The dad shows the ring to the camera and reports that Tommy has stolen his mother’s engagement ring. The woman out of view can’t stop laughing.

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“Three enormous diamonds… and [he] proposed to Millie,” says the dad.

The video concludes with the dad inviting Tommy to introduce himself to the Facebook viewers.

“Go on then, Tommy,” says Millie’s dad.

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“Bye, bye,” says Tommy as he peeks into the frame with a quick wave and a wry smile.

The video that was posted to TheLADbible Facebook page on Wednesday has already been viewed more than 24 million times. It has been shared 247,000 times on Facebook and the story has been picked up by high-profile websites, such as The Daily Mail and Mashable.

Please check out the video at this link.

Imperfect Diamonds Could Hold the Key to the Future of Long-Term, High-Density Data Storage

Imperfect diamonds could hold the key to the future of long-term, high-density data storage, according to a team of physicists from The City College of New York. Researchers claim that a diamond half as long as a grain of rice and thinner than a sheet of paper can hold 100 times more information than a DVD. In the future, a single diamond might have the storage capacity of one million DVDs.

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The team’s findings were published recently in the journal Science Advances.

Highly coveted fancy yellow diamonds owe their color to the faint presence of nitrogen atoms in the diamond’s carbon structure. Interestingly, the same chemical imperfections that cause the diamond to be yellow, provide atomic-sized voids for the storage of data. Scientists call these imperfections “nitrogen vacancy centers.”

“We are the first group to demonstrate the possibility of using diamond as a platform for the superdense memory storage,” lead author Siddharth Dhomkar, a physicist at The City College of New York, told Live Science.

What’s more, diamonds hold an advantage over traditional storage media because they are three dimensional and not susceptible to wear and tear. Data stored in a diamond could truly last forever.

“A DVD is like a 2-D puzzle, and this diamond technique is like a 3-D model,” research participant and graduate student Jacob Henshaw told The New York Times. “Unlike the DVD, which has only one surface, a diamond can store data in multiple layers, like a whole stack of DVDs.”

Researchers were able to use lasers to encode data into a diamond’s imperfections. They added electrons by shining a green laser and deleted electrons by shining a red laser. The computer reads the presence or absence of electrons much like a traditional computer reads 0s and 1s.

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To illustrate the concept, researchers encoded images of Nobel Prize-winning physicists Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrödinger on a diamond by adding and removing electrons with green and red lasers.

If this breakthrough technology takes off, diamonds coveted for data storage will be very different from the ones seen in jewelers’ showcases. For data purposes, the more flaws, the better.

“The bigger the diamond, the more defects, the more places to put information,” Henshaw told The Times.

Credits: Yellow diamond by MJT Symbolic (Own work) CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Laser-encoded diamond by Carlos A. Meriles and Siddharth Dhomkar.