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Articles in July 2014

July 1st, 2014
The Matykowski’s 10-year-old Rottweiler mix, Tucker, is known as the “food burglar,” because the mischievous pooch likes to snatch and gobble unattended treats. Two weeks ago, while Lois Matykowski was serving Popsicles to her two granddaughters, Tucker stole one and swallowed it whole, stick and all.

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Tucker soon coughed up the stick, but what happened two days later was nothing short of miraculous. The still-queasy canine coughed up another surprise, but this time it was Matykowski’s diamond wedding ring, a ring that went missing more than five years ago.

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As Matykowski approached the mess with cleaning supplies in hand, she could hardly believe her eyes when she saw something sparkling. “I screamed. I kid you not,” she said. The Stevens Point, Wis., resident cleaned up the ring with a soft toothbrush and it was good as new.

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The family veterinarian believes the Popsicle stick may have helped to dislodge the ring that was stuck in the dog’s stomach for more than half his life. An X-ray confirmed there were no other baubles in his belly.

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Five years ago, Matykowski had been devastated by the loss of her precious ring. She had checked every conceivable location in the house, the yard, the car. Nothing was left unturned, except Tucker’s tummy.

“My husband and I had been married for 20 years at that time,” Matykowski told ABC News. “We had just upgraded the ring, and it wasn’t insured. And it wasn't just the value, but also the emotional ties. How do you replace that?”

Now Tucker is a neighborhood celebrity. “He’s the big dog on campus. He is my hero and I’m just elated,” said Matykowski.

Matykowski’s friends have said, “I want a dog that throws up diamonds."

“Who wouldn’t, right?” she replied.
July 2nd, 2014
Carried around for years as a good luck charm by 1950s TV advertising pioneer Rosser Reeves, the 138.72-carat gemstone that bears his name is the largest and finest star ruby the world has ever known. Ruby is the official birthstone for the month of July.

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Characterized by its rich red color and prominent six-rayed asterism, the cabochon-cut Rosser Reeves Star Ruby is now one of the most prized possessions of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

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Before donating it to the Smithsonian in 1965, Reeves called the stone “my baby” and made it his constant companion. The advertising executive, who penned the M&Ms slogan, “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand,” was one of the most successful admen of his day. And he attributed much of his good luck to the beautiful scarlet stone.

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The famous ruby has an origin of Sri Lanka although it’s not clear when it was mined. According to published reports, gem dealer Robert Fisher purchased the stone at a London auction in 1953. At the time, it weighed 140 carats, but the asterism in the stone was slightly off center and the surface had abrasions. It was subsequently cut down to 138.72 carats to give it a prettier appearance and bring the “star” closer to the center. Reeves purchased the improved stone from Fisher’s son, Paul, in the late 1950s.

The ruby had been the subject of stories in the New York World-Telegram and The Sun as early as 1953.

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

Gem photos: Smithsonian Institution/Chip Clark.
July 3rd, 2014
Lynn Franklin and her jeweler grandfather enjoyed a special bond. As a child, she would often accompany him on local buying trips through the grungy streets of Pittsburgh. Franklin vividly remembers how he carried a battered briefcase filled with precious diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires, and how her imagination would run wild, as she searched the shadows for thugs, thieves and spies.

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Now a certified gem dealer and author, Franklin’s life-long love for gemstones bubbles over in her new novel, The Pirate’s Ruby, the second in her series of Jeweler’s Gemstone Mysteries. The book currently has a five-star rating on Amazon.com.

In the prologue, we learn that the main character, Kimberley West, is a rebellious fifth grader whose family has deep roots in the jewelry business.

Her grandfather was a Swiss jeweler and her aunts are named Emerald, Ruby and Sapphire. Her cousins are named Tiffany, Opal, Amber and Pearl. When challenged by a snotty classmate about why her name is not a gemstone, she clarifies that she’s actually named for the famous Kimberley Mine in South Africa, the “most spectacular formation of diamonds in the world.”

For the next 33 chapters, Kimberley relies on her guile to unravel a mystery that features an ancient ruby amulet worn by a famous pirate, a looming hurricane, a missing child and a crumbling cliff-top.

Always fascinated with gemstone history and lore, Franklin selected ruby, the July birthstone, as the focus of her second book because she finds the mystique surrounding the precious red gem to be among the most interesting.

Fellow author Karen Harbert called The Pirate’s Ruby a “jewel” of a book. Writes Harbert: “The author educates us in her family gemstone background while Kim confronts a childhood nemesis and races to find the real thief and killer before her best friend is charged with the crimes. Kim follows the twisting trail of clues while teaching us the difference between bright, shiny baubles.”

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The first book in Franklin’s series, which also chronicles the adventures of Kimberley West, is called the The Blue Diamond. Both books are available on Amazon.com.
July 7th, 2014
The nationally televised Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Contest on July 4 took an unexpected, romantic turn when defending champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut proposed to long-time girlfriend Neslie Ricasa on stage moments before the competition.

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The annual glutton-fest at Coney Island, N.Y., which has been covered as a sporting event by ESPN since 2003, is typically a stomach-turning display of extreme consumption by the world’s most accomplished eaters.

But, just before Chestnut was set to do battle, he interrupted the on-stage interview that master of ceremonies George Shea was conducting with Ricasa. With a microphone in hand, Chestnut went down on one knee and proposed to his startled girlfriend in front of the Coney Island revelers, and one million viewers on ESPN.

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Visibly nervous, Chestnut struggled with his proposal: “It’s been the best three years of my life and I can’t live without you. You make me better. Would you marry me?”

Despite the high-profile surprise, Ricasa didn’t hesitate with her answer. “Yes!” she exclaimed into the microphone.

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Chestnut slipped a beautiful solitaire diamond ring onto her finger and the two embraced. But there was still work to be done.

Taking advantage of the adrenalin rush generated by the engagement proposal, the #1 ranked competitive eater fought off a strong challenge by Matt Stonie and won the competition by downing 61 hotdogs and buns in 10 minutes. Although Chestnut failed to break his own record of 69 hotdogs, this was his seventh defense of the Nathan’s title.

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Ricasa was not only thrilled by her fiancé’s victory and the surprise proposal, but she also loved her new engagement ring. She tweeted a close-up view of her patriotic manicure and bejeweled left hand with the caption, “the best 4th ever! so much love from so many people, thank you all so much! i love you @joeyjaws!”

The ring features a large round center diamond on a dainty diamond band.

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Chestnut went home with some bling of his own — a jewel-encrusted, mustard-colored championship belt. He also won the prize money, estimated to be between $10,000 and $20,000.

“The proposal went great,” Chestnut declared. “She said ‘yes,’ and I’m a happy guy all around.”

Besides his well-documented hotdog eating skills, the 225-pound, 6-foot-tall Chestnut has competitively consumed bratwurst, chicken wings, boiled eggs, corned beef sandwiches, pizza, shrimp wantons, burritos, hamburgers, matzo balls, and the list goes on.

July 8th, 2014
If you’re in New York City this summer, schedule a visit to the American Museum of Natural History to see the extraordinary 5.05-carat Kazanjian Red Diamond, one of only three 5-carat red diamonds known to exist.

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One of the most popular exhibits in the museum’s Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems, the Kazanjian Red is scheduled to end its extended run at the museum in 90 days, according to a spokesperson for Kazanjian Beverly Hills. The stone made its NYC debut in 2010.

Natural red diamonds are extremely rare — so rare that most jewelers will go a lifetime without having handled one. Fewer than 20 red diamonds have been discovered worldwide, and the esteemed club of red diamonds five carats and larger has only three members — the Kazanjian Red, the 5.11-carat Moussaieff Red and the 5.03-carat De Young Red.

The Kazanjian Red diamond has a long, storied history that rivals the plot of Romancing the Stone. Discovered in Lictenburg, South Africa, in the mid-1920s, the deep red 5.05-carat stone was cut from a much larger 35-carat piece of rough. A diamond dealer purchased the rough diamond for 280 British pounds, or approximately $25,000 in today’s dollars, accounting for inflation.

Amsterdam diamond cutters the Goudiv Brothers studied the stone for seven months before deciding on its emerald-cut shape. The color of the finished stone was described at the time as looking as if “a drop of blood fell upon the hand of the cutter.”

According to published reports, the stone then went on a wild ride that included stops at Tiffany & Co. in New York, a safe in Arnhem, Netherlands, the Nazi regime of WWII Germany, a Bavarian salt mine, the workshop of diamond merchant Louis Asscher, the estate of diamond magnate Sir Ernest Oppenheimer and a return engagement at Asscher.

The stone had been largely out of sight in a private collection for more than 30 years when Kajanjian Bros. Inc. purchased the well traveled gem and renamed it in 2007. It is now the centerpiece of the Kazanjian Foundation, which has been helping charities since 1957 through the display and sale of private jewelry collections.
July 9th, 2014
Californians Brandon Strohbehn and Nicole Nepomuceno share a passion for skydiving, so when it came time for the Orange County firefighter to pop the question to his girlfriend of 18 months he knew it had to happen while free-falling from 12,500 feet.

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The couple was just a few seconds into a tandem jump over San Diego on May 18 when Stohbehn pulled out a ring box — open so the engagement ring was in view — and told Nepomuceno how he loved her more than anything. But, then Stohbehn fumbled the box. A now-viral video of the proposal shows the shocked girlfriend’s reaction as the box plummets to earth.

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What seemed to be a heart-wrenching catastrophe was actually a clever prank. The lost ring was a $9 prop and the actual ring was waiting for the couple, along with friends and family, when they landed. Now on solid ground, Strohbehn got down on one knee and continued the proposal, which Nepomuceno enthusiastically accepted.

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The real engagement ring, which the bride-to-be displayed proudly on Facebook, features a round diamond solitaire and a diamond-encrusted band fabricated in white metal.

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When asked about the airborne prank, Nepomuceno told 10news.com, "Every single time I glanced at it, I was like, 'How is that strapped to him?' I was shocked to see it drop, and then he was ignoring me." That’s when she knew something was amiss.

"I couldn't stop smiling,” Strohbehn added. “I was like, that was so awesome. It went perfect."

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On Facebook, Nepomuceno wrote, “Brandon Strohbehn, I love you more than everything. Your proposal was beyond perfection and everything about that day is an awesome portrayal of the weirdos that we are - Who proposes with a fake ring and drops it?!...”

She continued: “It's… definitely a day that will remain close to my heart as one of the best days of my life.”

Strohbehn and Nepomuceno, who have logged 224 jumps between them, are planning to marry in July 2015. Will they be taking their wedding vows at 12,500 feet? We wouldn’t bet against it.

Check out the viral video of the high-flying proposal below...

July 10th, 2014
A Dubai dentist has given new meaning to the term “brilliant smile” with his custom-made dentures crafted from 10 grams of pure 24-karat gold and encrusted with 160 round diamonds weighing 2.5 carats.

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With a price tag of $152,700, the dazzling dentures are being touted as “the world’s most expensive smile” by celebrity dentist Dr. Majd Naji of Liberty Dental Clinic.

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Dr. Naji, whose clients include movers and shakers from the worlds of music, film and politics, is confident that his claim will be affirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records. The doctor has provided Guinness with authenticity and clarity certification from the World Diamond Institute in Belgium.

The doctor said his inspiration for creating the gold-and-diamond dentures was a 2013 United Nations Happiness Report that ranked the UAE first among the Arab countries, and 14th in the world out of the 156 nations surveyed.

"I then thought of designing this beautiful piece and enhancing the smile of not just the owner but also a charity,” said Dr. Naji, who plans to contribute AED100,000 (approximately $27,000) from each sale to a Dubai Autism Centre.

The doctor clarified that the blinged-out dentures are not intended for daily use and shouldn’t be worn while eating. The can be fitted in two appointments and no teeth-drilling is required.

He told the press that his firm is already processing its first two orders — one from a member of the UAE royal family the other from a affluent client in Qatari.

Photos: Liberty Dental Clinic Of Dubai
July 11th, 2014
For today’s Music Friday feature, we join Frank Sinatra, Stubby Kaye and Johnny Silver as they stroll the streets of 1940s New York City singing the title song to Guys and Dolls. In this comical tune about how guys in love often do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do, ruby and platinum make their big screen debut.

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Based on the unsavory activities of petty criminals and professional gamblers, Guys and Dolls, which was a hit Broadway play in 1950 and an equally successful movie in 1955, seems to be written in a language all its own.

For instance, take this verse written by Frank Loesser: “When you meet a mug / Lately out of the jug / And he's still liftin' platinum falderal / Call it hell / Call it heaven / It's a probable twelve to seven / That the guy's only doin' it for some doll.”

A loose non-poetic translation would be, “When you meet an ugly guy who's been recently let out of jail, and he still finds it necessary to shoplift platinum trinkets, you can agree or disagree with what he's doing, but it's a good bet that he’s doing it to impress a woman.”

The ruby line in the spoken introduction to the song needs no translation: “What's in The Daily News? / I'll tell ya what's in The Daily News. / A story about a guy / Who bought his wife a small ruby / With what otherwise woulda been his union dues. / That's what's in the Daily News.”

The Broadway premiere of Guys and Dolls was in 1950. It ran for 1,200 performances and won a Tony Award in 1951 for Best Musical. The film adaption by Samual Goldwyn Productions cost a then-unheard-of $5.5 million and starred Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Sinatra and Vivian Blaine. It ended up grossing $20 million at the box office.

We welcome you to enjoy the video of Sinatra (as Nathan Detroit), Kaye (as Nicely-Nicely Johnson) and Johnny Silver (as Benny Southstreet) performing the classic “Guys and Dolls.” The lyrics are below is you’d like to sing along.

“Guys and Dolls”
Music and lyrics by Frank Loesser

(spoken intro)...

What's playin' at The Roxy?
I'll tell ya what's playin' at The Roxy.
A picture about a Minnesota man
So in love with a Mississippi girl
That he sacrifices everything
And moves all the way to Biloxi.
That's what's playin' at The Roxy.

What's in the Daily News?
I'll tell ya what's in the Daily News.
A story about a guy
Who bought his wife a small ruby
With what otherwise woulda been his union dues.
That's what's in the Daily News.

What's happenin' all over?
I'll tell ya what's happenin' all over.
Guy sittin' home by a television set
Who once used to be something of a rover.
That's what's happenin' all over.

Love is the thing that has licked 'em.
And it looks like I'm just another victim.

(song begins)...

When you see a guy
Reach for stars in the sky
You can bet that he's doin' it for some doll

When you spot a John
Waitin' out in the rain
Chances are he's insane
As only a John
Can be for a Jane

When you meet a gent
Payin' all kinds of rent
For a flat that could flatten the Taj Mahal

Call it sad
Call it funny
But it's better than even money
That the guy's only doin' it for some doll

When you see a Joe
Savin' half of his dough
You can bet there'll be mink in it for some doll

When a bum buys wine
Like a bum can't afford
It's a cinch that the bum
Is under the thumb
Of some little broad

When you meet a mug
Lately out of the jug
And he's still liftin' platinum falderol

Call it hell
Call it heaven
It's a probable twelve to seven
That the guy's only doin' it for some doll

When you see a sport
And his cash has run short
You can bet that he's bankin' it with some doll

When a guy wears tails
With the front gleaming white
Who do you think
He's tickling pink
On Saturday night?

When a lazy slob
Gets a good steady job
And he smells of Vitalis and Barbasol

Call it dumb
Call it clever
But you can get odds forever
That the guy's only doin' it for some doll

Some doll
Some doll
The guy's only doin' it for some doll!

July 13th, 2014
After 64 soccer matches and one month of thrilling competition, Germany finally captured the FIFA World Cup Trophy yesterday with a 1-0 extra-time win over Argentina.

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The coveted trophy, which is 14.5 inches tall and depicts two human figures holding up the earth, is made of 10.8 pounds of 18-karat gold and features two rows of green malachite at the base. The value of the gold alone is $172,368.

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The trophy is likely hollow. FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, had previously claimed that the metal part of the trophy was solid gold, but Martyn Poliakoff of Nottingham University pointed out that, based on its dimensions, a solid version would weigh an unwieldy 154 pounds.

The German team, which came into the tournament ranked #2 in the world, will be taking home a gold-plated replica of the actual trophy. The real one will remain in the possession of FIFA. The bottom of the base bears the engraved year and name of each FIFA World Cup winner since 1974. The names are not visible when the cup is standing upright.

For the past 84 years, there have been only two designs for the FIFA trophy. The current one was designed by Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga and first presented in 1974.

In describing his design, Gazzaniga said, "The lines spring out from the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world. From the remarkable dynamic tensions of the compact body of the sculpture rise the figures of two athletes at the stirring moment of victory."

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In 1970, the Brazilians got to keep the previous version of the trophy — the Jules Rimet Cup — when the team captured its third world title.

Rimet, the founding father of the FIFA World Cup, had stipulated 40 years earlier that any team that won three titles could have the cup permanently. FIFA made good on that promise in 1970, but in 1983 the cup was stolen in Rio de Janeiro and never seen again.

The Jules Rimet Cup, which was originally called “Coupe du Monde,” was designed by French sculptor Abel Lafleur and depicted the goddess of victory holding an octagonal vessel above her. It was 13.7 inches tall and weighed 8.4 pounds. It was made of gold-plated sterling silver, with a blue base of lapis lazuli.

In 1966, an earlier version of the Jules Rimet Cup was lifted from a public display in London just before the Brits were about to host the World Cup. It was discovered seven days later at the bottom of a suburban garden hedge by a clever canine named Pickles.

During World War II, the Jules Rimet Cup spent some time in a shoebox under the bed of FIFA vice president Dr. Ottorino Barassi, who feared it might fall into the hands of the Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
July 15th, 2014
When a kid pulls open a snack bag of Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish crackers, all she expects to find are delicious cheese-flavored morsels in the shape of smiling tiny fish.

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Unlike Cracker Jacks, which has distributed more than 23 billion prizes — including rings — over the past 101 years, Pepperidge Farm's Goldfish brand had never given away a single ring over its 52-year history.

All that changed last week when a nine-year-old in South Carolina discovered a real diamond wedding band swimming with the fish crackers.

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"I opened up [the bag] and I asked my mom, 'Is there supposed to be a ring in here?'" adorable Peyton Postol of Boiling Springs, S.C., told CBS affiliate WSPA.

"I took one look and then I took a double take. Sure enough it was a real ring," Peyton’s mom, Stephanie, told ABC 4 Utah.

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Both surprised and outraged, Stephanie Postol wondered how a ring could have gotten into her daughter’s snack. It was presumed that a worker at a plant in Colorado or Utah, where Goldfish crackers are manufactured, may have lost the jewelry.

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A spokesperson for Pepperidge Farm said the company is taking this incident very seriously. “We have in place a number of processes to avoid something like this from happening," Anna Burr told ABC 4 Utah.

Pepperidge Farm has asked the Postols to return the ring and the pack of Goldfish in which it was found so the company might determine how the jewelry got through its quality-control system, which includes a sensitive metal detector.

A tour of the Pepperidge Farm plant in Utah would reveal a mammoth operation that produces 3,000 Goldfish every second and more than 60 million pounds of the product each year. Line workers wear hairnets and gloves — and are prohibited from wearing jewelry — so it’s hard to figure how a ring could have slipped into the packaging.

Goldfish is the third-most-popular cracker brand in the U.S., just behind Nabisco Ritz crackers and Sunshine Cheez-It crackers. In 2012, Goldfish boasted $423.4 million in sales.
July 16th, 2014
Last year, the most popular baby names in the U.S. were Noah, Liam and Jacob for boys, and Sophia, Emma and Olivia for girls. With traditional names making a comeback, expecting parents are taking a closer look at the Victorian-era names associated with precious stones.

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At the beginning of the 20th century, it was not unusual for a one-room schoolhouse to be filled with young ladies named Pearl, Opal, Coral and Beryl. Parents believed that children named for precious stones would be anointed with luck and prosperity.

Now, more than 100 years later, five gem-inspired names are ranked in the Social Security Administration’s official list of the Top 1000 Baby Names.

Here’s a countdown of the top five, along with their symbolic meaning and comparative rankings from five years earlier…

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5. Diamond. Famous for its strength, clarity and brilliance, diamond is the hardest substance known to man and the birthstone for the month of April. As a girl’s name, Diamond ranked #712 in 2013, down from #446 in 2008.

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4. Pearl. Said to symbolize the purity, generosity, integrity and loyalty of its wearer, Pearl was one of the top girl’s names in 1880. It slowly faded from favor over the next 100 years, but resurfaced recently. Pearl ranked #677 in 2013 and did not make the Top 1000 chart in 2008. Maya Rudolph named her daughter Pearl Minnie Anderson in 2005.

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3. Amber. This beautiful deep yellow gemstone is made from fossilized tree resin. It was also a marginally popular girl’s name in the late 1800s (ranking between 800 and 1000). Then, it zoomed to the very top of the list in 1980 and has fallen off only a bit over the past 34 years. Amber ranked #288 in 2013, down from #165 five years earlier. Johnny Depp's fiancée is Amber Heard.

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2. Jade. This deep green gemstone, which is revered in the Orient for its mystical and healing properties, arrived on the U.S. top names chart in 1980 and has been in the Top 200 since 1992. In 2013, it ranked #126, up slightly from #130 in 2008. Jada, a slight variation of the name, was also highly ranked at #248. TV chef Giada De Laurentiis named her daughter Jade in 2008. Giada is the Italian word for Jade.

And our top-rated gem name is…

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1. Ruby. Fiery and captivating, the rich red ruby is known as the stone of nobility and is considered a symbol of passion and power. For the past 134 years, the name Ruby has never placed lower than #400. It was near the top of the list in 1910, reached its low point in 1980 and has been making a rapid ascent ever since. Rated #93 in 2013, Ruby moved up 20 places over the past five years. Toby Maguire named his daughter Ruby in 2006 and today it stands as the most popular gemstone-inspired name.

In addition to the top five gemstone names, here are some unranked names for your consideration: Amethyst, Beryl, Garnet, Emerald, Coral, Sapphire, Opal, Peridot, Onyx and Topaz.

Gem photos: Ruby, jade, pearl and diamond by Stuller.com.
Gem photo: Amber (unattributed)
July 17th, 2014
The Gemological Institute of America has foiled an attempt by Golden Globes janitor Henry Bernal to keep a 10.62-carat yellow diamond ring he pocketed while cleaning the Red Carpet after the star-studded event in January.

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The ring, which was lost by jewelry designer Lorraine Schwartz and is reportedly worth $250,000, slipped off during the pre-show Red Carpet festivities.

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According to TMZ, instead of going to authorities with his find, Bernal decided to give the diamond ring to his girlfriend, Christina Gonzalez.

Curious to know the ring’s value, they took the show-stopping bauble to a local jeweler, who offered to buy it. The couple decided to get a formal evaluation of the stone from the Gemological Institute of America, and this is where their plan to keep the ring unraveled.

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The world's foremost authority on diamonds, colored stones, and pearls contacted police after discovering that the 10-plus-carat diamond was already laser-inscribed and documented with a grading report by the GIA. The inscription included GIA’s logo and the serial number of the grading report.

Microscopic inscriptions are often etched as a security measure onto the girdle of better-quality diamonds of one carat or larger. The girdle is the thin facet on the widest part of the diamond, which separates the crown and the pavilion.

The inscriptions are not visible to the naked eye and have no negative effect on the quality or clarity of the diamond. The telltale inscription was obviously missed by Bernal and Gonzalez.

Now Bernal is facing a criminal investigation for failing to report his discovery to local authorities. He allegedly told police that he didn't turn the ring in because he doesn't trust law enforcement.

Schwartz, who has created engagement rings for A-listers, such as Beyonce and Kim Kardashian, originally told police that someone might have slipped the ring off her finger without her realizing it.

Now, legal documents obtained by TMZ make it clear that the ring slipped off by accident, and that Bernal just happened upon it while cleaning the carpet.

TMZ reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Los Angeles Police Department and Beverly Hills Police Department are all on the case.
July 18th, 2014
Scottish psychedelic singer-songwriter Donovan stars in today’s Music Friday feature with his #1 hit, “Sunshine Superman.” In this 1966 love song dedicated to his future wife, Linda Lawrence, Donovan offers to “make like a turtle and dive for your pearls in the sea,” while also bragging that “Superman and Green Lantern ain't got a-nothin' on me.”

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Donovan told Billboard magazine that he was traveling in Greece at the time of the song’s release in July 1966 and had only three quid (about $5) in his pocket. His manager called him and insisted that he fly back to London right away because the song had just released and it was #1 all over the world.

“Sunshine Superman” reached the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and #2 in Great Britain. The song is considered one of the classics of the Sixties and continues to be Donovan’s signature song (his web site leads off with a snippet at http://donovan.ie).

"Sunshine Superman" is also one of the first examples of a music genre that would be known at psychedelia. The term “sunshine” was a street name for the hallucinogen LSD.

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A little known fact about the song is that legendary guitarist and Led Zeppelin founder Jimmy Page played lead guitar on on the track. At the time, Page was a session musician.

Donovan, who was born Donovan Philips Leitch, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame this year.

He’s been married to Lawrence since 1970, and is actively touring at 68 years old. You can catch his act on August 16 if you happen to be in Randers, Denmark.

We hope you enjoy the video of Donovan’s “trippy” long version of “Sunshine Superman.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

"Sunshine Superman"
Written and performed by Donovan.

Sunshine came softly a-through my a-window today
Could've tripped out easy a-but I've a-changed my ways
It'll take time, I know it but in a while
You're gonna be mine, I know it, we'll do it in style
'Cause I made my mind up you're going to be mine

I'll tell you right now
Any trick in the book a-now, baby, all that I can find

Superman or Green Lantern ain't got a-nothin' on me
I can make like a turtle and dive for your pearls in the sea
A-you can just sit there while thinking on your velvet throne
'Bout all the rainbows a-you can a-have for your own
'Cause I made my mind up you're going to be mine

I'll tell you right now
Any trick in the book a-now, baby, all that I can find

Everybody's hustlin' a-just to have a little scene
When I say we'll be cool, I think that you know what I mean
We stood on a beach at sunset, do you remember when?
I know a beach where, baby, a-it never ends
When you've made your mind up forever to be mine
Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm

I'll pick up your hand and slowly blow your little mind
'Cause I made my mind up you're going to be mine
I'll tell you right now
Any trick in the book a-now, baby, that I can find

Superman or Green Lantern ain't got a-nothin' on me
I can make like a turtle and dive for your pearls in the sea, yep
A-you you you can just sit there while thinking on your velvet throne
'Bout all the rainbows a-you can a-have for your own
When you’ve made your mind up, forever to be mine

I'll pick up your hand and slowly blow your little mind
When you’ve made your mind up, forever to be mine
I’ll pick up your hand
I’ll pick up your hand and slowly blow your little mind

July 21st, 2014
Two and a Half Men star Aly Michalka took to Instagram and Twitter last week to announce her engagement and show off her brand new — and classically beautiful — vintage-style ring from director boyfriend Stephen Ringer.

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Simon G Jewelry CEO Zaven Ghanimian told Eonline.com that he believes Michalka’s princess-cut center stone is set in platinum and weighs 2 to 3.5 carats. He estimated the ring's value to be in the range of $20,000 and $30,000. The princess cut is the second-most-popular diamond shape for brides, trailing only the round brilliant.

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In announcing her engagement on Instagram, Michalka had a little fun with her 182,155 followers. First she posted a pic of her and her younger sister AJ with the caption, “Hmmm....no one's noticed yet. #Lookcloser”. A careful inspection of the photo reveals an engagement ring on Michalka’s left ring finger.

Later the same day, 25-year-old Michalka posted a crystal clear closeup of her left hand with this caption: “So this happened…7/8.”

On Facebook, she wrote, "Wanted to share the exciting news! Feel very blessed to know such a great love #engaged x Aly"

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Michalka, who launched her acting career with roles in the Disney Channel's Phil of the Future and CW’s Hellcats, recently earned a recurring role as Brooke in Two and a Half Men. She and AJ are also in a band called 78Violet.

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One day after announcing her engagement, Michalka was back on Instagram with a romantic closeup photo of her and her beau. She captioned the photo, “So proud to be your girl.” The couple had been dating for a little more than a year and a half. They have yet to announce a wedding date.

July 22nd, 2014
It’s been 60 years since the world’s most beloved daikaiju (giant monster), Godzilla, first appeared on the silver screen. So, to honor the legendary “king of monsters,” Japanese fine jeweler Ginza Tanaka has created a 24-karat solid gold replica valued at $1.5 million. It officially went on sale Sunday, July 20. 

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Standing 9.4 inches tall and weighing a surprisingly hefty 33 pounds, the finely detailed statue is based on the Godzilla that starred in the 1989 film Godzilla vs. Biollante. Ginza Tanaka’s designers took some liberties with Godzilla’s proportions and physique, adding a bit of bulk and muscle definition, according to a press release.

Travelers to Japan can see the golden Godzilla in person. The first appearances will be at the G Haku Godzilla exhibit in Tokyo’s Shibuya until July 29, and then at the Ginza Tanaka flagship store in Ginza until August 10. From there, it will travel to Osaka for a two-week stint at a famous department store, and then continue to Ginza Tanaka stores throughout Japan.

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The giant reptile, which has appeared in 28 films, currently stars in Godzilla, the 2014 retelling of the origins of the alpha predator. The movie, which may be seen in 2D or 3D, stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen and Juliette Binoche.

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Ginza Tanaka is famous for its over-the-top solid gold creations. In March 2013, for example, the jeweler made news when it revealed a $5.25 million golden replica of soccer star Lionel Messi’s left foot.

The Argentine forward, who is widely considered the best soccer player in the world, was a standout during the recent FIFA World Cup. The golden left foot, which Messi called “exceptional,” weighs an astounding 55 pounds.

(Godzilla Photo: TM & ©Toho Co; Messi Photo: Ginza Tanaka)
July 23rd, 2014
A very special collection of world-class pearls from the Gulf State of Qatar is making its Americas debut in São Paulo, Brazil. Featuring more than 120 stunning pearl items and works of art, the exhibition will demonstrate Qatar’s 7,000-year legacy as the heart of the natural pearl trade.

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Visitors will learn how Gulf pearls have long been some of the most desirable and valuable in the world. It also reveals an historic look at the often-dangerous working methods of pearl divers and shows the trading practices of pearl merchants in the Gulf. Also on display is the equipment once used for weighing and evaluating pearls.

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Here’s an example of a pearl chest once used in the Arabian Gulf region. 

The exhibition includes natural pearl jewelry made between 200 AD and 1930 AD, as well as 10 royal tiaras from European monarchies, tribal jewelry and natural pearl earrings once owned by Elizabeth Taylor.

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One standout piece is the $2 million Rosebery tiara, owned in the late 19th century by the richest women in Britain, Hannah Primrose, Countess of Rosebery.

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“Pearls” is billed as an unparalleled scientific, historical, and cultural journey into Qatar’s role in bringing the world this natural gem. It examines how people in the Gulf region lived long before the discovery of oil and natural gas — when pearl diving was the only way to sustain the local economy.

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Divers demonstrate traditional methods of harvesting pearls in the Arabian Gulf. 

The exhibit covers the achievements of Kokichi Mikimoto in developing cultured pearls and how he was able to deliver an affordable pearl product to the masses.

Brazil is the third stop on the “Pearls” tour. The first was in Japan in 2012 and the second was in the UK in 2013.

Photos: Qatar Museums
July 24th, 2014
Cast aside by a sifting machine at the Ugakhan mine in Siberia, an enormous 14.7-pound gold nugget in the shape of a creepy pointy ear almost ended up in a refuse pile. Fortunately, the eagle-eyed worker responsible for leveling the pile was able to rescue the golden treasure and dubbed it the “Devil’s Ear.”

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In addition to it sinister look, the massive nugget was found under a full moon on Friday the 13th and its weight in kilograms was 6.66 — widely recognized as the devil’s number.

If you’re wondering if the eight-inch specimen, with a precious-metal value of $306,700, is the largest ever found, the answer is an emphatic “no.” In fact, the “Devil’s Ear” is barely one-tenth the size of the “Welcome Stranger,” a 158.78 pound nugget found only one inch under the ground by Aussie prospectors in Victoria in 1869.

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At 24 inches wide, the nugget was so large and so heavy that the gold scales available at the time couldn’t handle it. The miners decided to smash it into three pieces so the weight could be taken. Eventually, the world-record specimen was melted down into ingots and shipped to England.

Ugakhan mine officials told The Daily Mail that the sifting machinery, which is calibrated to identify gold, assumed the giant nugget was a valueless rock and kicked it out.

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A spokesman for the Novy Ugakhan mining company also noted that the workers will be checking the “dropouts,” or debris, more carefully. “We will have to see what else the clever equipment threw away,” he said.

Superstitious miners believe that such extraordinary finds rarely come singly. They expect the “Devil’s Ear” may have a “brother” within a short time, according to an official statement.

Sergey Kozlov, director of Ukhagan, told the Siberian Times, “For us it is a pleasant surprise. The deposit is new [with] a small gold content, and we did not have hope for such a big discovery.”

Photo of “Devil’s Ear” by Ugakhan Company.

July 25th, 2014
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today’s high-energy, heel-stoppin’ tune is “There’s Your Trouble,” the Dixie Chicks’ first “#1” on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.

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In this song from 1998, Dixie Chicks’ lead singer Natalie Maines delivers some straight talk to a forlorn boyfriend still pining for a previous love. In the very first verse, she sings, “Should have fit like a glove / should have fit like a ring / Like a diamond ring, token of true love / Should have all worked out, but it didn't / She should be here now, but she isn't.”

“There’s Your Trouble” was the second single off the group’s record-setting 14X platinum album Wide Open Spaces, a blockbuster work that sold more than 8.8 million copies in the U.S. and 14 million worldwide. It’s the fifth-best-selling country album of all time.

"There's Your Trouble" earned the Dixie Chicks a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group in 1999, and even met with crossover success as it topped out at #36 on the mainstream Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Formed in Dallas in 1989, the Dixie Chicks showcase the talents of founding members (and sisters) Martie Erwin Maguire on fiddle, mandolin and vocals, and Emily Erwin Robinson on acoustic guitar, banjo, dobro and vocals. A 21-year-old Maines joined the band in 1995, replacing former lead singer Laura Lynch.

The Dixie Chicks famously stirred worldwide attention on the political front when Maines criticized President George W. Bush’s policies during the buildup to the 2003 Iraq War. Although there were widespread boycotts of their music in the U.S., the Dixie Chicks recovered nicely from what was to be called “the incident,” nailing five Grammys in 2007.

We hope you have fun singing along to the video of the Dixie Chicks performing “There’s Your Trouble.” The lyrics are below.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

"There’s Your Trouble"
Written by Tia Sillers and Mark Selby. Performed by the Dixie Chicks

Should have been different, but it wasn't different
Was the same old story, Dear John and so long
Should have fit like a glove, should have fit like a ring
Like a diamond ring, token of true love

Should have all worked out, but it didn't
She should be here now, but she isn't

There's your trouble, there's your trouble
Seeing double with the wrong one
And you can't see I love you, you can't see she doesn't
But you just keep a holding on, there's your trouble

So now you're thinking 'bout all you're missing
How deep you're sinking, round and round and dragging down
Why don't you cash in your chips, why don't you call it a loss
Not such a big loss, chalk it up, better luck

Could have been true love, but it wasn't
It should all add up, but it doesn't

There's your trouble, there's your trouble
Seeing double with the wrong one
And you can't see I love you, you can’t see she doesn't
But you just keep a holding on, there's your trouble

Should have all worked out, but it didn't
She should be here now, but she isn't

There's your trouble, there's your trouble
You keep seeing double with the wrong one
And you can’t see I love you, you can’t see she doesn't
But you just keep a holding on, there's your trouble

There's your trouble
There's your trouble
There's your trouble
There is your trouble

July 28th, 2014
With his beautiful girlfriend, Taylor Townsend, dressed as Cinderella at center stage, a handsome Seth Conerly in full Prince Charming regalia entered slowly from the back of the Jackson Prep auditorium singing “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful.” By the end of the reenactment of the iconic scene from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Conerly was on bended knee proposing to the love of his life with a diamond solitaire ring presented in a glass slipper.

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Townsend accepted the ring to the delight of family and friends in the audience, and with the couple still embracing, the student performers of the ballroom scene surprised the audience by quickly transitioning into the sassy choreography of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).”

The 10:52 video of the amazing proposal, which took place on July 18, already has gained national media attention and is going viral on YouTube. It was the culmination of months of planning, during which Conerly, a student pastor, enlisted the help of friends from Venture Church in Hattiesburg.

Conerly chose Cinderella as the theme of the proposal because of Townsend’s deep ties to the character. When she attended Jackson Prep years earlier, she played the title role. During a visit to New York City in March, Conerly and Townsend saw Cinderella on Broadway.

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"It was one of those moments where everything hit me all at once like a lightning bolt,” Conerly told WLBT/WDBD. “It all lined up perfectly because Taylor had played the part of Cinderella… when she was in high school. "

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In the video, we can see Townsend pulling up to the venue and being greeted by her brother, who escorts her inside. In the lobby, she sees a Cinderella gown along with a note that invites her to try on the gown and attend the ball. It's signed: Prince Charming.

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After changing into the gown, her brother escorted her into the auditorium, where the main aisle was decorated with original comic-book-style artwork created by Conerly. Each drawing was based on a theme or headline supplied by Townsend. Under the title: “If You Had $1,000,000,” he drew a huge sparkly diamond ring.

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"I was so excited with how it all turned out and even more excited that Taylor loved it!" Conerly told WLBT/WDBD. "Above all else, I wanted to make Taylor feel truly loved and cherished; she is more than I could have ever hoped for or imagined!”

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In the end, Conerly said the elaborate proposal was certainly worth the effort. “The least I could do... for the woman of my dreams is to draw a few pictures, sing a song and wear a goofy costume,” he concluded.

The couple is planning a Valentine’s Day 2015 wedding. See the viral video below. It runs nearly 11 minutes, and be sure to have some Kleenex on hand.

Images: YouTube

July 29th, 2014
The 1964 NFL Championship ring of Jim Brown, widely considered the finest running back to ever play the game, was withdrawn from an online auction after the Hall of Famer claimed the ring was stolen from him more than four decades ago.

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Despite setting numerous pro football records that may never be broken, the 78-year-old Brown won only one championship ring, and now that he knows where it is, he wants it back.

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In a suit filed in a Manhattan federal court, Brown claims that sports memorabilia specialists Lelands, Bohemia, N.Y., refused to return the yellow gold and diamond ring that he reported stolen in the late 1960s.

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In the publicity building up to the sale, Lelands called Brown’s ring “one of the most important sports pieces ever sold” and “without a doubt the finest football piece ever to reach the market.” As a sports ring, Lelands claimed, “it is rivaled only by Babe Ruth's 1927 New York Yankees World Series ring.”

Lelands, which had received bids as high as $30,275 before removing the ring from its online auction, had intended to sell it to the highest bidder by July 25.

The company claimed on its website that the ring had been obtained legally from a Brown family member and previously sold by Lelands in 1998. In that auction’s preview, Lelands noted that Brown himself inspected the ring and acknowledged its authenticity.

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"That's a lie. I never spoke to anyone from there about the authenticity of the ring and I never would have given that ring to a family member," Brown told cleveland.com.

On its web site, the auction firm explained why the ring was taken down… “While we regret this controversy with Mr. Brown, who we personally admire as a great athlete, his claims are entirely without merit and we intend to vigorously defend against them. The provenance and chain of title for the ring are indisputable. After a successful resolution of this matter, we will sell the ring at one of our future auctions.”

During the auction, Lelands.com had outlined the ring’s history and ownership. “The provenance and chain of title is well documented: Jim Brown to family member to Lelands to Cleveland Sport Collection auction buyer back to Lelands.com and now to you.”

In the 1964 NFL title game, which pitted the game’s best runner—Brown—against the game's best quarterback—Johnny Unitas—the Cleveland Browns blanked the Baltimore Colts 27-0. It was the last time a Cleveland sport franchise—in any sport—won a championship. Brown averaged 5.2 yards per carry and ran for 12,312 yards during his nine seasons.

Photos of Jim Brown: Screen capture NFL.com; Phil Konstantin/Wikimedia Commons; Ring photos: Lelands.com

July 30th, 2014
More than 7.5 million Bachelorette fans watched Andi Dorfman accept a marriage proposal and a $100,000 double-halo diamond engagement ring from Josh Murray in the romantic two-hour Season 10 finale.

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The ring features a 3-carat oval diamond surrounded by 154 round accent stones. The platinum band is also delicately studded with diamonds. The tiered halo design is a new variation of the popular halo setting.

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The ring style came as little surprise to the 27-year-old Atlanta Assistant District Attorney. She revealed to ABC News that when she and Murray, 29, were holed up in the Bachelorette fantasy suite they spent some time talking about bridal jewelry.

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"It's a pretty big deal,” Dorfman told ABC News. “I might as well tell him [what I want] if we're getting engaged! Normal couples would go ring shopping or talk about it, so I'm like, 'Round, halo, maybe triple shank.’"

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Photo: Twitter

Although the ring does not have a triple shank and the center diamond is not round, Murray did comply regarding the halo design. “It is nice and big," Murray said of the Neil Lane design. "I wanted to make sure it was the perfect ring for her."

Series host Chris Harrison could barely contain his excitement on “After the Final Rose,” stating, “Holy cow, that ring! That is large. The boy did very well.”

Of course, contestants do not purchase their own engagement rings on the Bachelorette. They are paid for by the show. Couples get to keep the ring if they stay together at least two years, according to People magazine.

During the finale, Dorfman had to choose between Murray, a former pro baseball player from Atlanta (her own hometown), and Nick Viall, a software sales executive from Chicago. In the end, it was the Southern gentleman who won her heart.

While they expect to wed in the spring of 2015, the odds of the couple making it to the altar are very slim. Only two of the 18 Bachelor couples and two of the nine Bachelorette couples have taken their nuptial vows. Two couples from previous seasons are still engaged, but not yet married.
July 31st, 2014
A 10-year-old pet frog named Croak is making international news for scarfing the engagement ring of his owner’s fiancée after she accidentally dropped it on the kitchen table.

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The enormous and handsome frog, who is considered a family member by Russian Roman Livane, was allowed to roam free for a short time while Livane cleaned his glass aquarium, according to The Daily Mail. Reluctantly watching over the mischievous amphibian was Livane’s future bride, Kristina.

As Croak sat on the kitchen table, the two eyed each other as Kristina played with her diamond engagement ring. But then the unthinkable happened when Kristina accidentally dropped her ring on the table. Croak shot out this tongue and scarfed it on one bounce.

“I admit things got a bit strained when I asked her to look after him,” Livane, a resident of Yekaterinburg, told The Daily Mail. “She dropped [the ring] and it fell towards the table where my frog was sitting, and as quick as a flash [Croak] snapped the ring out of the air and swallowed it.”

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Livane and his fiancée took Croak to a veterinarian who took X-rays of the frog’s anatomy to determine exactly where the ring ended up.

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Dr. Julia Malyshev deemed it necessary to remove the ring by a tricky medical procedure during which the doctor would use a special hook-like device to enter the frog’s mouth and then fish the ring out of his stomach. The strategy worked and the ring was cleaned and returned to Kristina.

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“I have had him for almost 10 years. He's like part of the family,” Livane said of his trouble-making frog. “My girlfriend Kristina is the only girlfriend I have ever had that also likes frogs, so we are a perfect partnership.” The couple plans to wed at the beginning of August.

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Back in September of 2013, we reported on an equally misbehaved pet cockerel that pecked a diamond stud earring from his owner’s earlobe.

Fearing the risks related to surgery, the bird’s owners from Berkshire, U.K., decided to leave the earring in the bird’s gizzard, where it will likely stay until the end of the bird’s life — about seven years from now.

Frog images: via DailyMail.co.uk, uncredited