Music Friday: Sonny Turner of The Platters Sings, 'With This Ring I Promise I'll Always Love You'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of "With This Ring," a feel-good sing-along that was a huge hit for The Platters and frontman Sonny Turner.

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In this song, Turner is about to marry the girl of his dreams. He admits to having been a "wanderer," but now he's ready to settle down. The ring represents his promise to be faithful and to always love her.

He sings, "With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you."

Later in the song, he adds, "Baby, I never thought so much love could fit in a little band of gold."

"With This Ring" appeared as the first track from the band's Going Back to Detroit album and was released as the album's only single. The song ascended to #14 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and #12 on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart. The song represented an uptempo, stylistic shift for the group, which was famous for its moody R&B hits, such as "Only You," "The Great Pretender," "My Prayer," "Twilight Time" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes."

The Platters, which was formed in Los Angeles in 1952, charted 40 singles between 1955 and 1967, including four Billboard #1s. Turner joined the band in 1959 as a fresh-faced, 19-year-old tenor. He was chosen from 100 hopefuls who were auditioning to replace The Platters' original lead singer, Tony Williams. Turner remained with The Platters until 1970, when he left to pursue a solo career.

The group has endured numerous lineup changes and name variations throughout its history. Fans have been coming out to see The Platters for the better part of 65 years, and the group continues to tour. According to songkick.com, the group has appeared in Las Vegas 1,171 times, and most frequently shared the billing with The Marvelettes (866 times).

Please check out the video of Turner and The Platters performing "With This Ring." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"With This Ring"
Written by Richard Wylie, Luther Dixon and Anthony Hester. Performed by The Platters.

With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you
With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you

They used to call me the wanderer
Who never wanted to settle down, yeah
But I'll tell you, baby
I wander no more, got to stay around 'cause

With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you
With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you

Got nothing but this old heart of mine
Baby, please, believe in me
Girl, you know, sweet heart
I'll always try to keep you satisfied, 'cause

With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you
With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you

With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you
With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you

Baby, I never thought so much love
Could fit in a little band of gold
But I'm telling you, darling
I feel it in my heart, got it in my soul

With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you
With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you



Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Intricately Carved Agate Detailing a Battle Scene Is Called a Bronze-Age 'Masterpiece'

Measuring barely 1.5 inches across and carved with astonishing skill, this 3,500-year-old sealstone is considered one of the finest works of prehistoric Greek art ever discovered.

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Emerging from the surface of the agate is a finely detailed battle scene showing a victorious warrior who, having already vanquished one unfortunate opponent sprawled at his feet, now turns his attention to another much more formidable foe. Some of the elements are so incomprehensibly small that they must be viewed with a magnifying glass or via photomicroscopy to be truly appreciated.

The agate masterpiece had been unearthed from the burial site of a Bronze Age Greek warrior near the ancient city of Pylos more than two years ago by University of Cincinnati researchers. At the time, the treasure-laden tomb of the "Griffin Warrior" was hailed as the most spectacular archaeological discovery in Greece in more than half a century.

Recovered from the grave were more than 3,000 items, including four solid gold rings, silver cups, precious stone beads, fine-toothed ivory combs and an intricately built sword, among other weapons.

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The agate had been put aside for later review because it was caked with limestone and looked like an average bead. But, when researchers finally completed the task of removing 3,500 years of sediment, what was emerged was so amazing that many team members were overcome with emotion.

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"Looking at the image for the first time was a very moving experience, and it still is," said Shari Stocker, a senior research associate in UC's Department of Classics. "It's brought some people to tears."

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A sketch of the artwork offers a clearer picture of the characters depicted in the carving.

Researchers believe the "Pylos Combat Agate" was a sealstone that the Griffin Warrior wore as a bracelet around 1450 BC. He likely pressed the raised image into clay or wax. He was dubbed the Griffin Warrior because he was buried with an ivory plaque depicting a griffin — a mythical beast with the body of a lion and head and wings of an eagle.

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"What is fascinating is that the representation of the human body is at a level of detail and musculature that one doesn't find again until the classical period of Greek art 1,000 years later," explained UC archaeologist Jack Davis. "It's a spectacular find."

Stocker and Davis noted that the skill and sophistication reflected in the Pylos Combat Agate is unparalleled by anything uncovered before from the Minoan-Mycenaean world.

"It seems that the Minoans were producing art of the sort that no one ever imagined they were capable of producing," explained Davis. "It shows that their ability and interest in representational art, particularly movement and human anatomy, is beyond what it was imagined to be."

The Pylos Combat Agate is the subject of a paper to be published later this month in the peer-reviewed journal Hesperia.

Credit: Images courtesy of University of Cincinnati.

Largest D-Flawless Diamond Ever to Appear at Auction Fetches $33.7 Million at Christie's Geneva

The largest D-flawless diamond ever offered at auction — a 163-carat emerald-cut stunner set in an emerald and diamond necklace by de Grisogono — fetched $33.7 million at Christie's Geneva yesterday. The piece was purchased by an anonymous bidder and the hammer price exceeded the pre-sale estimate by about 10%.

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The extraordinary diamond, which was cut from a 404.20-carat Angola-sourced rough named “4 de Fevereiro,” had been billed as "the most beautiful diamond in the world." The necklace attained celebrity status as it toured Hong Kong, London, Dubai and New York before returning to Geneva for the high-profile sale at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues.

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The asymmetrical necklace designed by Swiss jewelry house de Grisogono features cascading pear-shaped emeralds on the left side and cool, white emerald-cut diamonds down the right. The company chose to use emeralds in the design because the green color symbolizes good luck.

The final concept, named “The Art of de Grisogono,” was one of 50 proposed by the firm’s design team and took more than 1,700 hours to complete. The 163-carat diamond may be detached from the necklace and incorporated into other jewels.

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The oddly shaped rough diamond was cut in New York, where a team of 10 diamond-cutting specialists pooled their talents to map, plot, cleave, laser-cut and polish the gem into a stunning 163.41 carat emerald-cut stone.

The gem earned a D-flawless, Type IIa grade from the Gemological Institute of America. Type IIa diamonds are the purest of all diamonds because they are composed solely of carbon with virtually no trace elements in the crystal lattice. The 404.20-carat rough is the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever discovered in Angola.

“Over our 251-year history, Christie’s has had the privilege of handling the world’s rarest and most historic diamonds," noted Rahul Kadakia, International Head of Christie’s Jewels. "The sensational 163.41-carat perfect diamond suspended from an elegant emerald and diamond necklace propels de Grisogono into a class of their own.”

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie’s.

The Knot Reports a Resurgence in Time-Honored Traditions, Such as Getting Down on Bended Knee

Time-honored marriage proposal traditions are back in vogue, according to The Knot's "2017 Jewelry & Engagement Study." When it comes to getting down on bended knee, using the phrase "Will you marry me" and asking her parents for permission, everything old is new again.

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For instance, exactly 87% of future grooms told The Knot that they proposed on bended knee. That number is up 10 percentage points since 2011. About 9 in 10 grooms claimed they popped the question with engagement ring in hand (up from 85% in 2011) and 91% actually asked for their future spouse's hand by using the phrase "Will you marry me?" (That's up from 86% in 2011). More than three in four (78%) asked their partner's family for permission before proposing.

Forty percent of grooms noted that their marriage proposal was "meticulously planned, down to the last detail" — a process that took, on average, 4.4 months. Meanwhile, a declining number of brides report being surprised (35%) by the proposal.

"We're seeing proposers put more time, thought and effort into creating the perfect proposal, as well as an engagement ring they know their partner will love," said Kristen Maxwell Cooper, editor in chief of The Knot.

The Knot also reported that 1 in 3 couples shopped for their engagement ring together and that the time spent looking for the perfect ring was 3.5 months, up from 3.3 months in 2011. Only 6% of brides wished they could have been more involved in the purchasing process.

The average engagement ring cost $6,351 in 2017, up 25% since 2011. Nine in 10 brides report being happy with the amount their fiancé spent on the ring; 6% wish they had spent more and 4% wish they had spent less.

A large proportion (45%) of proposals are now taking place in a public location, such as a scenic spot, garden, park or zoo. That number is up from 34% in 2011. Nearly half of all couples (47%) are enlisting a photographer or videographer to capture the exact moment of the proposal. Despite the deep thought and rigorous planning, 60% of proposers still reported feeling nervous before asking for their significant other's hand in marriage. That number is up six percentage points vs. 2011.

Here are more important stats from The Knot's survey.

• Average Number of Rings Looked at Before Purchase: 26
• Engagement Rings With Some Personalization: 45%
• Most Popular Stone Cut: Round (52%)
• Average Carat Size for Center Stone: 1.2 carats
• Average Carat Total Weight for Ring: 1.8 carats
• Most Popular Engagement Ring Setting Metal: White Gold (61%)

The Knot's 2017 Jewelry & Engagement Study is based on a survey of more than 14,000 engaged or recently married brides and grooms.

Credit: Image via Bigstockphoto.com.

Music Friday: After Sad Breakup, Vance Joy Reminisces in His New Release How We Were 'Like Gold'

Welcome to Music Friday when we often bring you fresh, new tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we feature a nostalgic ballad from Aussie singer-songwriter Vance Joy. Introduced via Joy's Twitter account on November 2, "Like Gold" tells the story of a perfect love, a painful breakup and the promise of a second chance.

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As many authors and lyricists have done in the past, Joy uses "gold" to symbolize something pure and ideal.

He sings, "Closing my eyes, remember how we were like / Gold, when you see me / Hi, if you need me / Babe, that's the way it was / That's the history / Blue, how we used to roar / Like an open fire / That's the way it was / But that's history."

"I wrote 'Like Gold' after coming off the road at the start of 2016," Joy said. "It started with a simple melody I was humming and the idea of looking back at a relationship."

"Like Gold" is the second single from Joy's upcoming album, Nation of Two, which is set to be released in February of 2018. The first single was titled "Lay It On Me."

"Like Gold" has already found its way onto Apple Music's "Best of the Week" list and netted a bunch of positive reviews.

Baeblemusic.com wrote, "Vance Joy lets his mellow tunes blossom once again in his new single 'Like Gold.' Joy literally brings joy to our ears with this new track. His unique ability to turn the pain of a past relationship into something hopeful gives this song the flavor we desperately crave."

"The alternative-folk-meets-pop track hears him reminiscing on a failed relationship with painful imagery of having to let go but not being ready to," wrote thomasbleach.com. "It’s going to emotionally connect with anyone who’s had to learn to let go in the past with a few touching lyrics that offer a rare sense of calm."

Born James Keough in Melbourne, Australia, in 1987, Joy took his stage name from a character in the 1981 Peter Carey novel, Bliss. He told Australian radio station Triple J, "The main character's name is Harry Joy and his grandfather is Vance Joy. He's the storyteller and a crazy old man. Plus, I thought it was a cool name."

The strapping 6' 3" Joy was an Australian rules football player and pursued a law degree before trying his luck on the Melbourne open-mic scene at the end of the 2000s. His folk-pop single "Riptide" caught the attention of Atlantic Records, which signed him to a five-album deal in 2013.

The artist tours internationally. He will be performing in Australia through the end of November, and then heads to Florida, Oregon, California, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Ireland.

Please check out the audio track of Joy performing "Like Gold." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Like Gold"
Written and performed by Vance Joy.

Time to let it go
It won't let go of me
Hanging by a thread
Cutting the cord and then falling back into the
Black 'cause if I don't
If I wait 'til it feels right
I'll be waiting my whole life
Closing my eyes, remember how we were like

Gold, when you see me
Hi, if you need me
Babe, that's the way it was
That's the history
Blue, how we used to roar
Like an open fire
That's the way it was
But that's history

O-o-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o
That's the way it was
But that's history
O-o-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o
That's the way it was
But that's history

I have a memory
You're visiting me at night
Climbing in my bed
You were so quiet that you never woke me
I love the way you could
See the good in everything
But, do we fuel the fire?
Closing my eyes, remember how we were like

Gold, when you see me
Hi, if you need me
Babe, that's the way it was
That's the history
Blue, how we used to roar
Like an open fire
That's the way it was
But that's history

Started with a word
Now, look at where we are
Everything we've done
It's there on our faces for anyone willing to
Read between the lines
Now, look at where we are
Everything we've done
It's there on our faces for anyone willing to

O-o-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o
That's the way it was
But that's history
O-o-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o
That's the way it was
But that's history

Well, I got a feeling
Darling, it's possible
'Cause love's got no ceiling
Now, that it's just so strong
And I got a feeling
Like everything is possible
I'm trying to change
M-m-m-m-m

Gold, when you see me
Hi, if you need me
Babe, that's the way it was
That's the history
Blue, how we used to roar
Like an open fire
That's the way it was
But that's history

Started with a word
Now, look at where we are
Everything we've done
It's there on our faces for anyone willing to
Read between the lines
Now, look at where we are
Everything we've done
Started out with just one

O-o-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o

Gold, when you see me
Hi, if you need me
Babe, that's the way it was
But that's history



Credit: Photo by Ralph Arvesen from Round Mountain, Texas [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia