Wildly Divergent Hues Are the Stars of Pantone’s Fashion Color Trend Report for Spring 2018

Wildly divergent hues unbounded by traditional guidelines, seasonal borders or gender norms are the stars of Pantone’s Fashion Color Trend Report for the spring of 2018. The “untypical” palette reflects the top 12 colors seen on the catwalks during NY Fashion Week, which concludes tomorrow in Manhattan.

Meadowlark / Cherry Tomato / Little Boy Blue / Chili Oil

Pantone, the global color authority, publishes its report to give consumers and retailers a sneak peek at the color stories that will emerge in all areas of design and fashion in the coming year.

Among 2018’s “uplifting shades” and “feel-good tones” are Meadowlark, a confident and outgoing bright yellow, and Cherry Tomato, a tempestuous orangey red. Other favorites include Little Boy Blue, reminiscent of a clear blue sky; Chili Oil, an earthy brown-based red; Pink Lavender, a soft and romantic violet rose; and Arcadia, a cooler, cleaner take on green.

Pink Lavender / Blooming Dahlia / Arcadia / Ultra Violet

Emperador / Almost Mauve / Spring Crocus / Lime Punch

“The color palette showcases an appreciation for the complexity and distinctiveness of color and the expression of it, which is something that evolves and can be played with,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Consumers need more variety, and this expanded palette embraces the lack of gender and seasonal borders we are seeing within the fashion industry.”

Sailor Blue / Harbor Mist / Warm Sand / Coconut Milk

In additional to the 12 “call-out shades,” Pantone also revealed four “seasonal classics.” These more subdued tones provide the mainstay of the wardrobe and the foundational core upon which consumers can start building their own personal style. Seasonal classics include the dark navy Sailor Blue, dove grey Harbor Mist, neutral Warm Sand and off-white Coconut Milk.

In early December, we will announce Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2018. Previous winners have included Greenery (2017), Rose Quartz/Serenity Blue (co-winners for 2016), Marsala (2015), Radiant Orchid (2014), Emerald (2013) and Tangerine Tango (2012).

Credits: Images courtesy of Pantone.

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Category 4 Hurricane Irma Fails to Thwart Tulsa Man’s Key West Surprise Marriage Proposal

Months ago, Tulsa native Russ Dugger scheduled a romantic vacation to scenic Key West, Fla., where he planned to surprise his girlfriend, Nadia Kyrylova, with a marriage proposal on the world famous beach. Little did he know that they’d be crossing paths with a Category 4 hurricane.

The couple checked into their Key West hotel last Sunday, and Dugger was all set to pop the question on Wednesday with the assistance of the hotel staff.

But, with Hurricane Irma predicted to make a hard, northward turn from Cuba toward the Florida Keys, hotel officials instructed the couple on Tuesday morning that they had to evacuate before Wednesday at noon.

By Tuesday afternoon, Key West looked like a boarded-up ghost town, but Dugger wasn’t going to let a hurricane stand in the way of his proposal. The couple had already survived a tornado together in Tulsa.

Most of the hotel staff had already evacuated, so he would have to go it alone.

In a scene that could only be described as surreal, Dugger proposed to Kyrylova Tuesday afternoon on an impossibly deserted Key West beach.

“Everybody was gone,” Dugger told Tulsa’s Fox affiliate Fox23.

Kyrylova accepted Dugger’s marriage proposal and a diamond engagement ring with a resounding “Yes.” But, now the couple had to outrun one of the biggest and most powerful hurricanes to ever make landfall in the U.S.

On Wednesday, they hopped into their rented car and made the four-hour journey to Ft. Lauderdale airport. There, they waited for hours, hoping that their Fort Lauderdale-to-Dallas-to-Tulsa flight would be allowed to take off. By Thursday, they had finally arrived in Dallas, where they spent the night. On early Friday morning, the exhausted, but relieved, couple was greeted by a Fox news crew at the baggage carousel at Tulsa International Airport.

Dugger and Kyrylova will be able to tell future generations that their love was able to overcome two natural disasters — an Oklahoma tornado and a Florida hurricane.

The couple plans to marry in Colorado in 2018.

Credits: Beach photo via Facebook.com/russ.dugger.16; map via NASA/NOAA/UWM-CIMSS, William Straka; Airport screen capture via FOX23.com.

Music Friday: Mark Knopfler Scores a ‘Beautiful Find’ in His 2006 Release, ‘I Dug Up a Diamond’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, Mark Knopfler scores a “beautiful find” in his 2006 release, “I Dug Up a Diamond.”

When taken literally, the song written by Knopfler is about a diamond miner who makes an unbelievable discovery. Metaphorically, “I Dug Up a Diamond” is about a man who’s been on a seemingly hopeless search for the love of his life — and then finally finds her.

He sings, “I dug up a diamond / Rare and fine / I dug up a diamond / In a deep dark mine / If only I could cling to / My beautiful find / I dug up a diamond / In a deep dark mine / My gem is special / Beyond all worth / As strong as any metal / Or stone in the earth.”

Providing the sweet harmonies for “I Dug Up a Diamond” is country legend Emmylou Harris. The pair had been friends since the late 1980s and decided to collaborate on an album, which they titled All the Roadrunning. Their work earned critical acclaim as the album peaked at #17 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.

The 68-year-old Knopfler, who is best known as the frontman for Dire Straits, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and grew up in Northumberland, England. Both are coal mining regions, so it is likely he drew his “I Dug Up a Diamond” lyrical inspiration from first-hand experiences.

A four-time Grammy Award winner, Knopfler is ranked 27th on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Knopfler and Dire Straits have sold more than 120 million records.

Born in Birmingham, Ala., the 70-year-old Harris is a 13-time Grammy winner and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. She’s collaborated with some of the music industry’s biggest names, including Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson and Neil Young.

Please check out the video of Knopfler and Harris performing “I Dug Up A Diamond.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“I Dug Up A Diamond”
Written by Mark Knopfler. Performed by Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris.

I dug up a diamond
Rare and fine
I dug up a diamond
In a deep dark mine
If only I could cling to
My beautiful find
I dug up a diamond
In a deep dark mine

My gem is special
Beyond all worth
As strong as any metal
Or stone in the earth
Sharp as any razor
Or blade you can buy
Bright as any laser
Or any star in the sky

Maybe once in a lifetime
You’ll hold one in your hand
Once in a lifetime
In this land
Where the journey ends
In a worthless claim
Time and again
In the mining game

I dug up a diamond
Rare and fine
I dug up a diamond
In a deep dark mine
Down in the darkness
In the dirt and the grime
I dug up a diamond
In a deep dark mine

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

De Beers Makes Largest Investment in Diamond Marketing Since 2008; Spending Set at $140 Million

Millennial shoppers will have diamond jewelry on their minds this holiday season thanks, in part, to a huge marketing push by the De Beers Group, which is set to spend $140 million by the end of the year. The budget is its biggest since 2008.

For those of you unfamiliar with De Beers, these are the same folks who introduced the world to “A Diamond Is Forever,” a slogan penned by Frances Gerety, an NW Ayer copywriter, in 1947. That four-word tagline has inspired literature, music, a James Bond flick, and earned the title of the best advertising slogan of the 20th century by Advertising Age magazine.

Today, the De Beers Group has grown into an international powerhouse representing the interests of diamond exploration, diamond mining, diamond retail, diamond trading and diamond manufacturing. Among its many responsibilities is elevating the position of diamonds in the hyper-competitive luxury goods market.

“Total consumer expenditure on diamond jewelry for the last five years collectively has been the highest on record – and the outlook is positive,” said Stephen Lussier, De Beers Group’s Executive Vice President of Marketing. “However, we cannot take future growth for granted.”

The $140 million budget will be used to boost diamond jewelry demand in leading global markets, with the biggest allocations earmarked for the U.S., China and India. De Beers will continue to be laser focused on the emerging millennial generation — those born between 1982–2004.

“Increasing our spend from a strong position will help support continued demand in both mature and developing markets, particularly among millennials, who are already the largest group of diamond consumers despite this generation not having yet reached its maximum earning potential,” Lussier added.

The Diamond Producers Association, which is responsible for the “Real Is Rare. Real Is a Diamond” TV commercials, has seen its 2017 budget quadruple, compared to 2016.

“When evaluating luxury purchases, [millennials] seek items that are genuine, unique and not mass-produced, and have inherent meaning and value,” said Deborah Marquardt, the DPA’s Chief Marketing Officer. “This preference speaks directly to the diamond promise — in an increasingly artificial world, diamonds remain authentic, rare and precious.”

According to bloomberg.com, the U.S. accounts for more than half of the world’s diamond purchases. Diamond sales in the U.S. reached $41 billion in 2016, an increase of 4.4% compared to 2015.

Credits: Ring image courtesy of De Beers Group. Screen capture via YouTube.com/Real is a Diamond.

Lost for 9 Years, Diamond Engagement Ring Pried From a Gap in an Italian Sidewalk

The picturesque town of San Marco dei Cavoti in southern Italy is now world famous for two things: 1) the delightful honey-and-nut confection known as torrone and 2) a diamond engagement ring that was miraculously liberated from a gap in one of its sidewalks — nine years after it was lost.

In the summer of 2008, New Jersey natives Margaret and Justin Mussel were staying with her parents in what may be the “sweetest” town in Italy when she noticed that her 1.1-carat diamond engagement ring was missing. They had visited Pompeii earlier in the day, so they assumed the ring was lost somewhere along the 80-mile span between the ancient city and her mom’s home. They searched the house and its surroundings, but the ring was nowhere to be found.

Margaret remembered that the ring had been loose, but she wore it anyway.

“I felt terrible, and I knew I should have probably taken it off,” she told ABC. “I just felt really bad that I could have prevented it from falling off, and I kept it on that day.”

Worse yet, since the ring was lost on their trip abroad — and not in the U.S. — their insurance company would not replace it.

The heartbroken couple returned to Brick, N.J., with the understanding that the princess-cut diamond in the white gold four-prong setting was likely gone forever. Justin saved up for a few years and bought a replacement ring for Margaret. The lost ring slowly faded from their memories.

That’s until the couple returned to San Marco dei Cavoti a few weeks ago, with their two young boys.

One evening, while lounging with his wife on his in-laws’ front porch, Justin saw a brilliant reflection emanating from the sidewalk in front of the house. Each time a car would drive by with its headlights on, he saw a flicker.

“I kept saying to Margaret, ‘Do you see that? I see this glimmer coming out of the sidewalk,” he told ABC.

He thought the light might have been bouncing off a coin.

Armed with a screwdriver, Justin tracked the reflection to a gap in the stones that bordered the sidewalk. He pried the shiny object that was jammed in the crevice, and what emerged was Margaret’s ring. The precious metal was slightly scratched, but the diamond was in perfect condition.

“I was like, ‘There’s no way the ring is in there.’ I couldn’t believe it. I thought he was playing a joke,” she told ABC.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think we would find it again,” she added.

“The odds of it falling into this crack, much less finding it nine years later, are astronomical,” Justin told the Asbury Park Press.

Justin believes the ring must have bounced into the gap with the stone facing down. Over time, it had been covered in dirt, but enough of the diamond was exposed to reflect the beams from the cars’ headlights.

Margaret is now wearing her original engagement ring. The replacement ring will be for one of her boys when the time is right.

Photos by Justin Mussel; Screen captures via YouTube.com/CBS New York. San Marco dei Cavoti photo by User: Pcocca Patrizia Cocca (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

98-Carat Bismarck Sapphire Was a Honeymoon Gift From the Wealthiest Man in America

In 1926, at the age of 53, American tycoon Harrison Williams married Mona Bush, a divorcée 24 years his junior. Aboard his 250-foot yacht, the Warrior, the couple departed on a year-long, around-the-world honeymoon, and during a stopover in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), the wealthiest man in America picked up a beautiful cornflower blue bauble for his new bride.

That 98.57-carat cushion-cut gem, which is now known as the Bismarck Sapphire, is one of the world’s finest examples of September’s official birthstone. Visitors to the Gem Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., will see the Bismarck Sapphire Necklace prominently displayed between two other famous sapphire pieces, the Hall Sapphire and Diamond Necklace and the Logan Sapphire.

Originally set horizontally in a necklace designed by Cartier in 1927, the Bismarck Sapphire was rotated into a vertical position when Mona had the necklace updated in 1959. The necklace on display in Washington, D.C., is accented with eight square-cut blue sapphires and 312 baguette and round brilliant-cut diamonds.

Gem experts believe that the Bismarck Sapphire was originally much larger than 98.57 carats and that it was likely recut by Cartier to attain optimum clarity and brilliance after returning to the states from Sri Lanka. Traditionally, Sri Lankan cutters favored carat weight over ideal proportions.

With investments in public utilities, Williams had amassed a fortune estimated at $680 million (equivalent to about $9.6 billion today) — making him the richest man in America. But, the stock market crash of 1929 dissolved his fortune to a mere $5 million.

Still, the Williamses maintained their ritzy lifestyle and, by 1933, Mona had earned the distinction of becoming the first American voted the “Best Dressed Woman in the World.”

Harrison Williams died in 1953, and two years later Mona would marry the German Count Eduard von Bismarck. At this point, the American socialite became known as Countess Mona von Bismarck. In 1967, at the age of 70, the Countess donated her beloved necklace to the Smithsonian. Mona died in 1983 at the age of 86.

Historically, the finest and most vibrant gem-quality sapphires have come from Sri Lanka, Burma and the Kashmir region of India. According to the Smithsonian, sapphires from Sri Lanka are typically light to medium blue and are commonly referred to as “Ceylon Sapphires.”

All sapphires are made of the mineral corundum (crystalline aluminum oxide). In its pure state, the corundum is colorless, but when trace elements are naturally introduced to the chemical composition, all the magic happens. Blue sapphires occur, for instance, when aluminum atoms are displaced with those of titanium and iron in the gem’s crystal lattice structure. Corundum has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, compared to a diamond, which has a hardness of 10.

Sapphires are seen in many colors, including pink, purple, green, orange and yellow. Ruby is the red variety of corundum.

Credits: Bismarck necklace photos by Chip Clark/Smithsonian. Smithsonian display by IFSconnie (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Music Friday: NSYNC Affirms, You Are ‘More Precious Than Any Diamond or Pearl’ in 1999’s ‘A Little More Time on You’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, the heartthrob boy band NSYNC compares gemstones to a very special woman in 1999’s “(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You.”

They croon, “In all of creation, all things great and small / You are the one that surpasses them all / More precious than any diamond or pearl / They broke the mold when you came in this world.”

While teen girls worldwide stared at their NSYNC posters and dreamed that Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone and Lance Bass were singing about them, the official video for the song has the boys praising the virtues of a mom. Shot mostly in black and white, the video explores the powerful bond between a mother and son, from birth to old age.

Released as the third single from their self-titled album, “(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You” ascended to #8 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and #3 on the Canada Top Singles list. The song, which was written by Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken, marked the first time NSYNC broke into the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. The album was also a commercial success, topping out at #2 on the U.S. Billboard 200. The album remained in the Top 10 for 30 weeks.

NSYNC was founded in Orlando, Fla., in 1995 as an alternative to the wildly popular Backstreet Boys. The group’s all-caps name, sometimes depicted with a star before the first “N,” seems to have two origin stories. Some have claimed that it is derived from a comment uttered by Timberlake’s mom, who was impressed by how the boys’ voices were “in sync.” A second theory is that NSYNC represents the last letter in each member’s first name. The second “N” apparently stands for the last letter in Lance Bass’ nickname, Hansten.

The star preceding the name was recommended by Israeli illusionist Uri Geller, who believed the symbol would bring them good fortune. At a cafe in London, Geller sat with the band members as he drew a star next to the word “NSYNC” on a napkin.

“I told them, if they place that star on their first CD, they’re going to shoot up to #1,” Geller related to The Huffington Post in 2015.

As noted earlier, Geller’s prediction was nearly spot-on. The album peaked at #2.

The group went on to sell 70 million albums and became one of the top-selling boy bands of all time. The group announced a “temporary hiatus” in 2002, and an official breakup was finally confirmed in 2007.

Please check out the official video of NSYNC performing “(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You.” It’s been viewed on YouTube more than 10.7 million times. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You
Written by Carl Allen Sturken and Evan A. Rogers. Performed by NSYNC.

Can this be true?
Tell me, can this be real?
How can I put into words what I feel?
My life was complete
I thought I was whole
Why do I feel like I’m losing control?

I never thought that love could feel like this
And you’ve changed my world with just one kiss
How can it be that right here with me
There’s an angel?
It’s a miracle

Your love is like a river
Peaceful and deep
Your soul is like a secret
That I never could keep
When I look into your eyes
I know that it’s true
God must have spent
A little more time
On you
(A little more time, yes he did baby)

In all of creation, all things great and small
You are the one that surpasses them all
More precious than any diamond or pearl
They broke the mold when you came in this world

And I’m trying hard to figure out
Just how I ever did without
The warmth of your smile
The heart of a child
That’s deep inside
Leaves me purified

Your love is like a river
Peaceful and deep
Your soul is like a secret
That I never could keep
When I look into your eyes
I know that it’s true
God must have spent
A little more time
On you

Never thought that love could feel like this
And you’ve changed my world with just one kiss
How can it be that right here with me
There’s an angel?
It’s a miracle

Your love is like a river
Peaceful and deep
Your soul is like a secret
That I never could keep
When I look into your eyes
I know that it’s true
God must have spent
A little more time
On you

God must have spent
A little more time, on you
(on you, on you, you, you, oh yeah)
A little more time
On you

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.