December 1st, 2023
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, second-hand bridal jewelry on display at a pawn shop in Chicago is the focus of “Golden Ring,” a chart-topping duet by country legends George Jones and Tammy Wynette.


In the song, we follow a golden band through a cycle of young love, marriage and eventual heartbreak. Jones and Wynette were married for six years, but divorced in 1975. They continued to perform after the breakup and scored a #1 hit in 1976 with a song that seemed to mirror the story of their tumultuous relationship.

The beginning of the song introduces the listener to a glittering ring that symbolizes all the promise of a young love. The second verse sees the couple exchanging vows and making a home for themselves. In the last verse, however, we learn that the relationship has gone sour and the ring has returned to the window display at the store where it was originally purchased.

The chorus punctuates the prevailing theme: “By itself it’s just a cold metallic thing / Only love can make a golden wedding ring.”

Written by Bobby Braddock and Rafe Van Hoy, “Golden Ring” was the title track to the Jones/Wynette duet album released in 1976 and the second of three #1 hits sung by the duo. The first was “We’re Gonna Hold On” (1973) and the last was “Near You” (1977).

Even though her marriage to Jones didn’t end well, in her autobiography, Wynette wrote, “The most fun, the most wonderful part of my career was working with George.”

Born in a log cabin in the small town of Saratoga, TX, Jones got his first guitar at the age of nine. By 1955, at the age of 24, Jones had already served in the Marines, was married twice and recorded his first hit song, “Why Baby Why.” In 1969, he married Wynette.

Over a career that spanned seven decades, Jones is credited with charting 168 country songs. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992. Jones passed away in 2013 at the age of 81.

Wynette, who was born in Tremont, MS, in 1942, is considered to be one of the most influential singers in country music history. She scored 20 #1 hits on the U.S. country singles charts (16 solo, three with Jones, and one with David Houston). She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and was ranked #2 in Country Music Television’s “40 Greatest Women of Country Music.”

Plagued by medical problems, which required 15 major operations, Wynette passed away in 1998 at the age of 55.

Please check out the performance of “Golden Ring” by Wynette and Jones. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Golden Ring”
Written by Bobby Braddock and Rafe Van Hoy. Performed by Tammy Wynette and George Jones.

In a pawn shop in Chicago
On a sunny summer day
A couple gazes at the wedding rings
There on display

She smiles n’ nods her head
As he says, “Honey that’s for you,
It’s not much, but it’s the best
That I can do.”

Golden rings (golden ring) with one tiny little stone
Waiting there (waiting there) for someone to take you home
By itself (by itself) it’s just a cold metallic thing
Only love can make a golden wedding ring

In a little wedding chapel later on that afternoon
An old upright piano plays that old familiar tune
Tears roll down her cheeks
And happy thoughts run through her head
As he whispers low, “With this ring, I thee wed.”

Golden ring (golden ring) with one tiny little stone
Shining ring (shining ring) now at last it’s found a home
By itself (by itself) it’s just a cold metallic thing
Only love can make a golden wedding ring

In a small two room apartment
As they fought their final round
He says, “You won’t admit it,
But I know you’re leavin’ town.”

She says, “One thing’s for certain,
I don’t love you any more.”
And throws down the ring
As she walks out the door

Golden ring (golden ring) with one tiny little stone
Cast aside (cast aside) like the love that’s dead and gone
By itself (by itself) it’s just a cold metallic thing
Only love can make a golden wedding ring

In a pawn shop in Chicago
On a sunny summer day
A couple gazes at the wedding rings
There on display,
Golden ring

Credit: Screen capture via / TammyWynettemusic.
November 30th, 2023
Cat lovers planning to pop the question this December have a chance to win $4,750 towards the cost of the engagement ring — as long as they share how their kitty will be involved in the memorable milestone moment.


Felix Cat Insurance just launched "A Purr-fect Proposal," a contest that will help one cat-loving couple celebrate the next chapter of their lives with extra cash and a curated collection of treats for their furry friend.

Those planning a proposal can privately share their cat-related engagement strategy at Whether your kitty will be toting a ring on its collar or posing alongside a romantic bouquet of flowers, Felix wants to know all the "catified" details.

Explained the sponsor, "With December being the most popular month for engagements, Felix is stepping in to provide a bit of holiday magic by covering the cost of the engagement ring… as long as those popping the question promise to include their cat in the proposal!"

On December 22, 2023, the insurance brand will select one lucky winner to receive a cash prize of $4,750 to help cover the cost of an engagement ring. According to The Knot's 2022 Jewelry and Engagement Study, the average cost of an engagement ring in the US is about $6,000, although the study revealed significant regional differences. Couples in the Mid-Atlanic spent the most on engagement rings ($8,400), while Midwestern residents spent the least ($5,200).

Felix didn't forget to acknowledge the star of the promo. The winner's cat will get a celebratory package of treats, including a plush champagne toy and festive feline fashion accessories — so kitty can dress up for the special occasion. The contest is open to US residents 18 years of age and older.

"Our felines are family members and just like your closest friends and family, we want to include them in celebrating meaningful moments like this," said Jamie Maxfield, marketing director and brand expert at Felix Cat Insurance. "Not only is Felix here to ease the expense of this core life event, we can also be there every step of the way afterwards."

Credit: Image courtesy of Felix Cat Insurance.
November 29th, 2023
Moriah Prichard tried to keep her cool as her boyfriend, Troy Goldschmidt, was being detained during a routine traffic stop in front of the Pablo Center in downtown Eau Claire, WI.


Officers Maggie Anderson and Josh Miller had pulled the couple over, claiming that one of the car's tail lights was out. But then Miller instructed Goldschmidt, who was driving, to step out of the car because there was an issue with his license.

The situation got even more dicey when Officer Anderson asked Prichard to get out of the car and Officer Miller seemed to be placing her boyfriend under arrest. Goldschmidt was on one knee with his hands behind his back.

"My nervousness was growing a little bit, but I thought it must just be a mistake," Prichard told WQOW News 18. "Looked over my shoulder and noticed his hands were being put behind his back, and I was definitely starting to get a little concerned."


Prichard's despair turned to elation when Goldschmidt — still on one knee — professed his love and presented the ring box he was hiding behind his back. Yes, the traffic stop was a carefully orchestrated ruse.

"I love you so much. You are my best friend," he began. "I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Would you marry me?"

Without hesitation, Prichard said "Yes."

At that point, he opened the box, stood up and put the engagement ring on her finger.


The officers congratulated the couple as hugs and handshakes were shared all around.

"You guys have been awesome," Goldschmidt told the officers.

Then the groom-to-be asked his new fiancée if she liked the ring.


"It's gorgeous!" she exclaimed.

The Eau Claire Police Department shared the body cam footage on its official Facebook page under the caption, "You never know what's going to happen on a traffic stop."

The Wausau couple had a great time when they visited Eau Claire back in March and were impressed by how friendly the people were. In fact, Prichard had lost her phone on that trip and Officer Anderson helped her recover it.

Goldschmidt was certain that he would return to Eau Claire with his girlfriend in late November when he was planning to propose.

"They had a very positive experience with Officer Andersen, and Troy was hoping she could be involved in the proposal," officer Miller told News 18. "Troy said they were coming into town again… to see a show, so he and I coordinated to do a traffic stop on them when they got into town."

You can check out the three-minute video here…

According to WEAU 13 News, both Goldschmidt's and Prichard's families were inside The District Pub & Grill watching the proposal happen across the street.

Commenting on the video post, Goldschmidt wrote, "Thank you so much, ECPD! I'm glad you had the video because I barely remember what I said. Neither Moriah and I have been able to stop smiling!"


A spokesperson for the ECPD responded, "It was such a pleasure to be a part of your special moment. Congrats to you both!"

On her own Facebook page, Prichard noted that she is not a big social media user, but HAD to share the ECPD video, writing, "Thank you SO much Eau Claire Police Department for volunteering your time! And Troy Goldschmidt for your love, care and creativity! I couldn't be happier, and I can't WAIT to spend the rest of my life with you! Excuse me while I go practice writing my new last name…"

Credits: Screen captures via Facebook / EauClairePD.
November 28th, 2023
The festive holiday season got off to a roaring start on Black Friday as the strength of the jewelry and apparel segments helped propel retail sales by 2.5% year-over-year. The Black Friday sales results built upon the double-digit growth experienced in 2022, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment.


While experiential gifts have been the popular choice the past few years, Mastercard noted, consumers continue to search for something to unwrap for the holidays, with jewelry and apparel being the top gift sectors of the day.

“Consumers are navigating the holiday season well and taking advantage of holiday promotions, giving them ample choice as they hunt for gifts for everyone on their list,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Incorporated. “Consumers are also shopping smarter, using all of their tools – from searching across channels to cross checking on apps and websites – to maximize value while they spend time with friends and family.”

Retailers once again started their Black Friday sales early in the month, giving consumers ample time to search for promotions and score the best deals.

According to Mastercard, e-commerce sales on Black Friday increased 8.5% YOY as consumers shopped deals online. Adobe data reported that US consumers spent $9.8 billion on Friday alone, a new sales record. The firm expected another $10 billion to be spent over the Thanksgiving weekend and a record $12 billion on Cyber Monday.

Interestingly, in-store shopper traffic outperformed expectations. Black Friday in-store visits were up 4.6% compared to 2022, according to Sensormatic Solutions, which tracks shopper traffic at brick-and-mortar stores. Mastercard noted that Black Friday in-store sales increased 1.1% YOY.

“Consumers are again finding joy in brick-and-mortar shopping, seeing it as an experience to be shared with loved ones," noted Grant Gustafson, head of retail consulting and analytics at Sensormatic. "It’s a testament to the hard work retailers have done to streamline journeys and deliver satisfying experiences.”

Nearly 182 million people were set to shop online and in stores between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, according to the National Retail Federation.

Credit: Image by
November 27th, 2023
Taco Bell Canada is about to unveil its "biggest crown jewel yet" — four 1-carat lab-grown diamonds made from taco shells. The diamonds serve as an ode to what the company calls "the perfectly imperfect nature of tacos."


"Taco Bell is all about celebrating life's messy moments and embracing what it means to be imperfect," said Devon Lawrence, marketing director for Taco Bell Canada. "The idea that even something as beautiful as diamonds have imperfections reinforces our brand mantra to 'Live Mas,' and celebrate our authentic, messy and beautiful selves! And what better way to mark the occasion than with friends – the people who celebrate you for exactly who you are."

On December 1 and 2 at a pop-up event at 1153 Queen St. W. in Toronto, besties are invited to see the diamonds up-close and enjoy a variety of activities for free. These include the following:

-- Getting matching tote bags
-- Taking cheesy photos at the photo booth with fun props and filters
-- Receiving matching temporary tattoos
-- Getting permanent friendship bracelets

What's more, Taco Bell fans in Canada are encouraged to enter a drawing to win a pair of matching Taco Bell Diamond Friendship Necklaces featuring the taco-derived diamonds. Each pair is valued at $20,000 CAD.

As the hardest substance know to man, the diamonds in the Taco Bell Canada promotion celebrate the unbreakable friendships in our lives.

According to Taco Bell Canada's marketing team, the process of growing the diamonds from taco shells took more than 12 months to complete at a "top-secret, undisclosed location." We're not sure why the process took so long because conventional lab-grown diamonds typically require only a few weeks to form.

Diamonds are composed of pure carbon. And while we've heard of diamonds grown from the carbon obtained from hair or cremation ashes, this may be the first time taco shells have been used in the process.

To enter the contest, Taco Bell lovers must follow Taco Bell Canada on Instagram or TikTok, like the "Friends Are Forever" post and tag their bestie in the comments. The contest is open to Canadian residents, except for those in Quebec, and runs from November 21 to December 8, 2023. The winners will be drawn on December 11, 2023.

Credit: Image courtesy of CNW Group/Taco Bell Canada.
November 16th, 2023
The California Sunset Diamonds, a super-rare matched pair of fancy vivid orange-yellow sparklers, are set to headline Christie's Magnificent Jewels sale in New York on December 6. The fancy-color diamonds weigh 12.20 carats and 11.96 carats, respectively.


Orange diamonds are highly coveted, yet hardly ever come to auction. Appropriately, Christies's assigned the gems with a pre-sale estimate of $7 million to $12 million, reflecting the size, color saturation, clarity and extreme rarity of the oval mixed-cut fancy color gems.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) monograph accompanying the stones emphasized the rarity of fancy vivid orange-yellow diamonds with this statistic: Only 1/3 of 1% of fancy-color diamonds submitted to GIA's grading lab over the past 10 years were graded as "fancy vivid orange-yellow."

The website describes orange diamonds as "the most infrequent occurrence of orange in nature," and colored-diamond specialists Leibish affirms that orange diamonds are the second rarest colored diamonds, with red being the rarest.

Set as dangle earrings in platinum and 18-karat rose gold, the California Sunset Diamonds are complemented by oval brilliant-cut white diamonds weighing 3.03 and 3.02 carats, as well as white marquise-cut accent stones each weighing .73 carats. The larger of the two orange-yellow diamonds boasts a clarity grade of VVS2, while the other has a VS1 rating.


Another top lot in the same auction will also feature an orange-hued diamond. The pear-shaped, mixed-cut fancy vivid yellowish-orange diamond seen here weighs 5.16 carats, is set in an 18-karat yellow gold ring and carries a pre-sale estimate of $1.5 million to $2 million.

Orange diamonds are rated on a color scale from pale orange to deep orange with the following designations from light to dark: Light Orange, Fancy, Fancy Intense Orange, Fancy Vivid Orange and Fancy Deep Orange.

Scientists are still somewhat baffled about how orange diamonds get their color, because their hue on the spectrum is sandwiched between yellow and red.

Unlike yellow diamonds that owe their color to the presence of nitrogen in their chemical makeup, pink and red diamonds owe their color to the effects of intense pressure, heat and twisting while they were still deep within the Earth. So there could be multiple factors at work to generate the rich orange hue.


The New York auction's second-priciest lot is expected to be a fancy vivid blue cushion modified brilliant-cut diamond weighing 3.49 carats. The internally flawless gem is set in a brushed platinum ring and is predicted to fetch between $4.5 million and $5.5 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie’s.
November 15th, 2023
When preparing his childhood home to be sold in 2011 after his 83-year-old mom fell ill, Gary Guadagno was careful to check every nook and cranny. You see, Guadagno remembered that his parents had a penchant for squirreling away valuable items in the modest two-bedroom home they purchased in the early 1950s in Reading, PA. He did end up finding the cash his parents stashed behind cinder blocks in the basement, but he couldn't find their wedding rings.


Guadagno was certain he would never see the precious family heirlooms again.

Fast-forward to September of this year, and the new Reading homeowner, Josh Martin, 36, is gently sliding the panel below the soffit of his kitchen cabinets. Armed with a flashlight, he's peeking into the void, trying to spot a gift that he hid away from his wife, Hannah Keuscher. But instead of finding the gift, he sees an old jewelry box.


Inside the box were the Guadagno wedding rings — a diamond engagement ring and a gold wedding band.


Knowing that the rings likely meant a lot to the previous owners or their family, Keuscher and Martin set out to find them.


Keuscher, 33, remembered the previous owners' last name and did some Internet sleuthing. She located Gary on Facebook and sent him a direct message about the jewelry discovery.

"I read it," the 60-year-old Guadagno told NBC10. "I swear I sat there in shock and disbelief for a few minutes with my mouth open."

His parents, Anthony and Rosemarie, had exchanged those rings in 1947. Anthony, a maintenance mechanic, passed away in 1978 when Gary was only 15 years old. Rosemarie became the breadwinner of the family after his death, but had to retire in 1998 as her Alzheimer’s progressed. She died in 2012.

Guadagno told the couple that he was happy to drive the 40 miles from his home in Phoenixville, PA, to retrieve the rings, but Keuscher and Martin insisted on making the trip to see him, instead.


As the homeowners were preparing a video for Guadagno to show him exactly how and where the rings were found, another surprise emerged. Previously unseen in the void below the soffit was a bicentennial 1776-1976 coin set. To Gary, it all made sense, because his dad was an avid coin collector.

"It's a legacy really," Guadagno told NBC10. "And to have [the items] returned to me from the kindness of two people I never met, it just was everything."

Credits: Screen captures via NBC10,
November 14th, 2023
November's popular birthstone, topaz, is widely admired for its vibrant array of colors, including yellows, oranges, blues, greens, reds, browns, pinks and purples.


The topaz in the photo, above, are part of the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection and can be seen up close and personal in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Originating from Russia, Japan, Madagascar, Ukraine, Brazil and the US (Texas), the topaz in this grouping range in weight from 18 to 816 carats.

Topaz — especially the yellow-to-orange varieties — has been misunderstood and misidentified for more than 2,000 years. Topaz gets its name from Topazios, the ancient Greek name for a tiny island in the Red Sea. The island is now known as Zabargad Island, the largest of a group of islands in Foul Bay, Egypt. It is very likely that the “topaz” mined there in ancient times was actually a yellow-green variety of peridot.

Before 1950, many “gem experts” shared the misconception that all yellow gems were topaz and that all topaz was yellow. In fact, citrine (November’s alternate birthstone) and even smoky quartz are still mistaken for topaz even though quartz and topaz are unrelated minerals.

Today, we know that topaz is allochromatic, which means that its color is caused by impurities in the gem's chemical makeup or defects in its crystal structure, according to the Gemological Institute of America. For example, the presence of the element chromium results in natural pink, red and violet-to-purple colors, while imperfections at the atomic level can cause yellow, brown and blue colors. Pure topaz will be colorless.

Brazil is the largest producer of quality topaz, but the gem variety is also mined in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Russia, Australia, Nigeria, Germany, Mexico and the US (specifically California, Utah and New Hampshire). Topaz rates an 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it a durable and wearable gem.

Topaz is a talisman for the sign of Sagittarius and is the suggested gift for the 23rd or 50th wedding anniversary.

Credit: Photo by Chip Clark/Smithsonian and digitally enhanced by SquareMoose.
November 13th, 2023
Next week marks the beginning of “engagement season,” the especially blissful time of the year that stretches from Thanksgiving until Valentine’s Day and accounts for nearly 40% of all marriage proposals.


About 19% of all proposals take place during the month of December, which is more than twice as popular as any other month. For many years, Christmas Day has been the most preferred day to get engaged, followed by a frosty mix of favorites that include Christmas Eve, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve.

Engagements tend to occur during the holiday season because couples love to celebrate in a relaxed atmosphere surrounded by friends and family.

About 2.8 million couples get engaged every year in the United States, according to data compiled by jewelry chain Signet. But for the past few years, the jewelry industry has experienced an "engagement gap" due to the relationship-busting effects of COVID-19. Many singles were forced to isolate themselves and stepped out of the dating pool.

Signet noted that couples get engaged about 3.25 years after they begin dating, so the COVID disruption resulted in the number of engagements thinning out at 2.1 to 2.2 million in 2023.

With a gradual return to pre-pandemic lifestyles, the coming season should reflect the beginning of a rebound, with 2.4 to 2.5 million engagements expected in 2024. Signet predicts the upward trend will continue over the next three years, as the company has identified 14 million people right now in the "dating funnel."

States, such as Texas and Florida, which were the first to drop pandemic restrictions, are 10 points closer to pre-pandemic engagement levels than other states that opened later, according to Signet.

Credit: Image by
November 10th, 2023
Welcome to Music Friday when we often bring you throwback hits with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we flip back the calendar to 1957 and find an 18-year-old Ray Stevens signing a big-time record deal.


What got the label's attention was a tune called “Silver Bracelet,” which is a fascinating look at love from the point of view of a young man growing up in the 1950s. Stevens tells the story of a simple, engraved bracelet that symbolizes his devotion to his new girlfriend.

He sings, “A silver bracelet / My silver bracelet / This simple token I do give / A silver bracelet / My silver bracelet / To show my love will ever live.”

He goes on to describe how he had his girlfriend’s name engraved on the front and his on the back: “Turn it over there is mine / Forever let it shine.”

Stevens detailed the origin of “Silver Bracelet” on his official website. His family had moved to Atlanta in 1956, and while still in high school, Stevens (then Ray Ragsdale) got his first big break when he met radio personality and Georgia Tech football broadcaster, Bill Lowery.

“He was looking for talent to write songs,” Stevens remembered. “I went out to his house and I said, ‘My name is Ray Ragsdale and I’m going to learn to write songs for you.’ He said, ‘Okay lad, go to it.’”

Stevens continued, “I borrowed a little tape recorder from a friend. I got the key to the lunch room, which also served as the assembly hall, from the principal. The room had a very high ceiling and a piano on a little stage. I went there one Sunday by myself and made a demo of a song that I and a friend had written called, ‘Silver Bracelet.’ I took it to Bill and he liked it. He called Ken Nelson at Capitol Records, who was coming to Nashville a lot during those days to produce records. Ken liked the song and signed me to a contract with [Capitol Records’ subsidiary] Prep Records.”

The success of “Silver Bracelet” helped launch a stellar career that has seen the artist release more than 45 studio albums and 93 singles. His two most popular tunes were “The Streak” (1974), a novelty song about streaking, and “Everything Is Beautiful,” which earned Stevens a 1970 Grammy for Male Vocalist of the Year.

Born in Clarksdale, GA, in 1939, Stevens started piano lessons at the age of six. His mom insisted he practice at least an hour each day. At 15, he sang and played piano in a band, the Barons, and the group performed all over the area for the American Legion, the Elks and private parties. His big break came after his family moved to Atlanta.

In 2018, Stevens opened a dinner theater in Nashville called the CabaRay, and the very next year he was inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame. He is still actively performing at the age of 84.

Please check out this rare audio track of “Silver Bracelet.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Silver Bracelet”
Written and performed by Ray Stevens.

A silver bracelet
My silver bracelet
This simple token I do give
A silver bracelet
My silver bracelet
To show my love will ever live

I had your name engraved on the front
In letters of my heart’s design
Turn it over there is mine
Forever let it shine

Wear my bracelet, please wear my bracelet
Wear it proudly on your arm
So everyone can see
Your heart belongs to me

Whoa, don’t ever lose my silver bracelet
My silver bracelet
This simple token I do give
A silver bracelet
My silver bracelet
To show my love will ever live

Cherish this token
Though small it may be
May it always remind you of me
Let no other take my place
Let none my name erase

This tiny trinket is such a small part
Of the love I hold in my heart
Won’t you say you love me too
No one else will ever do
Whoa, don’t ever lose my bracelet
Silver bracelet

Credit: Screen capture via