Music Friday: 'If Pressure Makes Diamonds, Our Love Is a Diamond by Now'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country star Don Williams sings about how marital stress can be a good thing in his 1983 tune, "Pressure Makes Diamonds."

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In the song, Williams admits that he and his wife have endured plenty of hard times over the years, but despite those pressures, their love has only gotten stronger. He compares the evolution of their relationship to the formation of diamonds deep within the Earth.

He sings, "Pressure makes diamonds much harder than stone / And they only get finer as each day goes on / We've been through some bad times / But we made it somehow / 'Cause if pressure makes diamonds / Our love's a diamond by now."

(Just for the record, diamonds form under intense pressure and heat about 100 miles below the earth’s surface.)

Written by Bob McDill and John Schweers, "Pressure Makes Diamonds" appeared as the seventh track on Williams' album, Yellow Moon. The album topped out at #12 on the U.S. Billboard Country Albums chart.

Over the course of a career that spanned six decades, Williams scored 17 #1 country hits. The singer’s imposing stature, paired with a soft, smooth bass-baritone voice, earned him the nickname the “Gentle Giant” of country music. In 2010, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Donald Ray Williams was born in Floydada, Texas, in 1939. After graduating from high school, Williams served two years in the U.S. Army Security Agency and then formed a folk-pop group called the Pozo-Seco Singers. The group disbanded in 1969 and Williams worked outside the music business for a short time. In 1971, he landed a songwriting job for Jack Music Inc. Soon after, he signed as a solo artist with JMI Records.

Williams stopped touring in 2016 and passed away a year later at the age of 78.

Trivia: Williams appeared as himself and played a number of songs in Smokey and the Bandit II (1980).

Please check out the audio track of Williams performing “Pressure Makes Diamonds.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

"Pressure Makes Diamonds"
Written by Bob McDill and John Schweers. Performed by Don Williams.

Well, we've had our troubles, we've had our hard times
Where some might have stumbled, we've always survived
Sometimes love weakens, when the chips are all down
But what we've got together gets stronger somehow.

Pressure makes diamonds much harder than stone
And they only get finer as each day goes on
We've been through some bad times
But we made it somehow
'Cause if pressure makes diamonds,
Our love's a diamond by now.

Well, we know the feelin' when the world closes in
We've been there before, love, and we might go again
The road may get rocky, life may get hard
But the whole world together can't tear us apart.

Pressure makes diamonds much harder than stone
And they only get finer as each day goes on
We've been through some bad times
But we made it somehow
'Cause if pressure makes diamonds,
Our love's a diamond by now.

Pressure makes diamonds much harder than stone
And they only get finer as each day goes on
We've been through some bad times
But we made it somehow
'Cause if pressure makes diamonds,
Our love's a diamond by now...



Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Hilary Duff Shows Off Her New Cushion-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring on Instagram

Actress Hilary Duff earned 1.9 million likes after revealing her stunning cushion-cut diamond engagement ring on Instagram this past Thursday. The 31-year-old star of the TV Land series Younger had just accepted a marriage proposal from singer-songwriter Matthew Koma and decided to broadcast the big news with a pair of sweet snaps for her 12 million followers.

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Punctuating an Instagram caption with a red heart emoji, Duff gushed, "He asked me to be his wife." Duff's new fiancé shared the same images on his Instagram page and added the caption, "I asked my best friend to marry me... @hilaryduff."

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Lacking an extreme close-up of the ring, jewelry experts interviewed by Town and Country, Pop Sugar, Bustle and Business Insider were only able to offer their best guesses about its shape, size, quality and value.

The general consensus is that the diamond is an elongated cushion cut — the popular pillow shape with rounded corners. Size estimates ranged from 3 to 4 carats. The clarity is assumed to be VS1 or higher with a G color grading. The minimalist white gold or platinum setting sports a split shank, and all these characteristics combine to put the ring's value somewhere in the range of $40,000 to $100,000.

A cavalcade of young actresses were quick to congratulate their colleague on Instagram.

Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical fame commented, "Awww congratulations love."

While fellow Disney alum Ashley Tisdale wrote: "OMG my fave couple."

Glee actress Lea Michele wrote, "So happy for you babe!!!

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Although it's unclear when they started dating, Duff and Koma made their first red-carpet appearance together in January 2017. E! News reported that they broke up in March 2017 and reunited shortly thereafter.

Duff currently portrays Kelsey Peters on Younger, the hit series that's about to return for its sixth season. Koma, 31, is a member of the band Winnetka Bowling League.

In October 2018, Duff and Koma welcomed their first child together, Banks Violet Blair. The couple has yet to set a wedding date.

Credits: Images via Instagram.com/Hilary Duff.

Music Friday: Insecure Charley Pride Asks His Wife, 'Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger?'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, music legend Charley Pride portrays a troubled and insecure husband in his amusing 1967 country hit, "Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger?"

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Pride's character tells his wife that he feels so proud when she wears her engagement ring for all the world to see, but questions why she goes out at night with the ring conspicuously missing from her left hand.

He sings, "I understand sometimes we all need time alone / But why do you always leave your ring at home?"

Pride wonders if there may be an innocent reason. Maybe the ring just doesn't fit right and the problem can be solved with a simple resizing.

He sings, "When I bought it for you darling it seemed to be just right / Should I take it to the jeweler so it won't fit so tight? / Does my ring hurt your finger when you go out at night?"

"Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger?" appeared as the fifth track of Pride's third studio album, The Country Way. Both the single and the album were big hits for Pride, with "Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger?" reaching #4 on the U.S. Billboard Country chart and #3 on the Canadian country chart. The album performed even better, zooming all the way to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Country Albums chart.

Charley Frank Pride was born in 1934 in rural Sledge, Miss., one of 11 children of poor sharecroppers. When Pride was 14, he was gifted his first guitar and taught himself to play. While he enjoyed music, his first love was baseball. He dreamed of being a professional baseball player.

As an 18-year-old, that dream started to come true, as he pitched for the Memphis Red Sox of the Negro American League. A year later, he signed with the Boise Yankees, the Class C farm team of the New York Yankees. In 1960, he pitched for the East Helena Smelterites, an unusual gig that saw him splitting time between playing baseball and working for a lead smelter.

The team's manager also recognized Pride's singing talents and offered him an opportunity to sing for 15 minutes before each game. Before long, Pride was singing in Montana clubs with a group called the Night Hawks.

His big break came when Pride's demo tape got into the hands of RCA Victor exec Chat Atkins, who offered the singer a record deal. By the mid-1970s, Pride was the best-selling RCA Records performer since Elvis Presley. Pride is credited with 40 #1 singles and was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.

He is still touring at the age of 85.

Please check out the video of Pride's live performance of "Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger?" The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger?"
Written by Don Robertson, John Crutchfield and Doris Ann Clement. Performed by Charley Pride.

Does my ring hurt your finger when you go out at night?
When I bought it for you darling it seemed to be just right
Should I take it to the jeweler so it won't fit so tight?
Does my ring hurt your finger when you go out at night?

Did you enjoy yourself last night dear how was the show?
You know that I don't mind it when you go
I understand sometimes we all need time alone
But why do you always leave your ring at home?

Does my ring hurt your finger when you're away from me?
I'm so proud when you wear it for all the world to see
Should I take it to the jeweler so it won't fit so tight?
Does my ring hurt your finger when you go out at night?
Does my ring hurt your finger when you go out at night?



Credit: Photo by GREG MATHISON [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Runner Gets Engaged Seconds After Completing the Pittsburgh Marathon

Pittsburgh-area resident Stephanie Solt captured two prizes at the finish line of last Sunday's Pittsburgh Marathon — a medal for completing the grueling 26.2 mile race and a diamond engagement ring from her boyfriend, JT Mylan.

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Mylan went down on one knee and popped the question just seconds after Solt turned in a time of 4 hours, 55 minutes.

With about six miles remaining in the race, Solt had seriously considered calling it quits. She was exhausted and her right knee was throbbing.

But, whatever doubts she harbored at that time were overcome by the encouragement of total strangers. Maybe, instinctively, they all knew that this race would be life changing.

“The people on the sideline kept cheering me on and calling me by the name I had on my bib," the 25-year-old told triblive.com. "[They were] giving me high fives and just pushing me along. It was just amazing."

Overwhelmed by their support, Solt said that she was almost in tears as she powered through the Boulevard of the Allies, the home stretch to the finish line.

As she crossed the finish line, Solt was diverted by a security guard away from the other runners and toward her boyfriend.

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“And here’s JT at the finish line and I’m like ‘What are you doing here?’ He puts the medal on me and pulls out the ring and goes down on one knee, and I said 'Oh my goodness!’ I was speechless,” Solt told triblive.com.

Pittsburgh Public Safety posted a video of the emotional scene on its Facebook page.

Mylan, 32, said that he counted on a bunch of workout buddies to help him through the planning. One friend suggested that he pop the question at the marathon and a second friend, who was set to work security at the marathon, said he could get JT behind the finish line. A third buddy hooked him up with a photographer who would document the momentous event.

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“When the universe lobs you an easy one, you might as well take it,” Mylan said.

Solt said she is ecstatic that she gets to marry her best friend. The couple is planning a spring 2022 wedding, which coincides with her graduation from physical therapy school. Mylan is a health and physical education teacher.

Credits: Screen captures via Facebook.com/Pittsburgh Public Safety; YouTube.com/WTAE-TV Pittsburgh.

75.61-Carat Emerald Once Worn by Catherine the Great Is Up for Sale at Christie's

A 75.61-carat emerald worn more than 220 years ago by Russian Empress Catherine the Great will be hitting the auction block at Christie's Geneva a week from Wednesday. The spectacular verdant gem, which was daringly smuggled to England by a James Bond-like character during the Russian Revolution, carries a pre-sale estimate of $2.3 million to $3.5 million.

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Credited with revitalizing the country and making it into the world’s largest and wealthiest empire, Catherine the Great ruled Russia from 1762 until 1796. Not only was she the longest-ruling female leader of Russia, but she was arguably the most fashionable.

In his book The Jewels of the Romanovs, Stefano Papi wrote, "Catherine was one of the greatest collectors of all time, in both scale and quality. She took great pleasure in the jewels that proclaimed her power and her rank as empress. Uniquely precious and suited for imperial elegance, Catherine the Great was particularly fond of emeralds."

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When Catherine wore this emerald in the late 1700s, it bore little resemblance to the gem you see today. It originally weighed 107 carats and had a rectangular shape.

After the Empress passed away in 1796, her cherished emerald was passed down to her children, and eventually to Tsar Alexander II, who gifted the stone to Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin upon the marriage to his son, Grand Duke Vladimir, in 1874.

Like Catherine the Great, the Grand Duchess Vladimir was famous for a great sense of style and an impressive jewel collection, which now included the 107-carat emerald.

The Russian Revolution in 1917 would force the Duchess to quickly flee St. Petersburg to the southern Russian border town of Kislovodsk with only a few "daytime jewels and strings of pearls." All the rest of her jewels would remain behind in the palace, stowed away in a safe, concealed between her wardrobe and her dressing room.

According to Papi's book, the Duchess confided in Albert Stopford, a well-known high society Englishman in St Petersburg. Acting as an unofficial secret agent, Stopford reached the safe with the assistance of a loyal palace caretaker and, using a false identity, smuggled the jewels from Russia to Great Britain on the Duchess's behalf. The jewels were hidden in his suitcase.

After the Duchess's death, her family members were forced to sell many of the jewels to support themselves. Cartier purchased the emerald from her descendants in 1927, and 27 years later, the notable jeweler would recut the gem into the current pear shape to improve its clarity. The gem was soon purchased by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and it remained in that famous family until 1971.

For the past 48 years, Catherine the Great's gem has been in the hands of private collectors. Next Wednesday, the fascinating emerald, which now dangles from a contemporary diamond necklace, will start a brand new chapter. And don't be surprised if Lot 269 smashes Christie's high estimate of $3.5 million.

Credits: Photos courtesy of Christie's.