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Shaina Day vividly remembers the exact moment 21 years ago when she accidentally flushed her engagement ring down the toilet at her boyfriend's parent's house in Lakeland, FL.


On Facebook, she wrote, "I was cleaning water off the counter with some toilet paper. My ring was sitting on the counter. I must have grabbed my ring by accident and tossed the TP. It was one of the worst things I ever did."

Day was so determined to recover her beloved ring — just days before her wedding — that she actually climbed into her future in-laws' septic tank and pumped every last drop of its nasty contents through a window screen and into a 55-gallon drum in the hopes of capturing it. Despite her heroic efforts, the ring was nowhere to be found.

Flash forward 21 years and Shaina and husband, Nick, are opening gifts on Christmas morning in the living room at Nick's parents' house.

But this would be no ordinary Christmas. The contents of one small bag, gifted to Shaina by her in-laws, was about to unleash a flood of emotions.


"It was kind of an ugly cry," she told WFLA-TV. "I sat there and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is my ring. This is my ring.' I’m wiping my eyes and mascara is going everywhere."

It turns out that Shaina's original engagement ring had been stuck for 21 years in the "S" bend of her in-laws' toilet drain. Thousands of flushes were not enough to push the ring through the bendy trap, which is designed to fill with fresh water and effectively stop odors from rising from the drainpipe.

Nick's parents had recently hired a plumber to replace the old toilet. The couple was astonished as the ring emerged when the plumber emptied the excess water from the toilet into the tub so he could keep the floor dry.

The engagement ring was somewhat damaged after being bounced around in the plumbing system for more than two decades, but the center stone remained intact. Nick's parents had the jewelry deep-cleaned and professionally wrapped before returning the prized possession to Shaina.

Shaina and Nick told a number of news outlets that they're still not certain if they will incorporate the engagement diamond into a new piece of jewelry, or hold onto the original ring so it can be handed down to future generations. The bonus of the latter strategy is that the ring comes with an amazing backstory.

Shaina told Fox 13 Tampa Bay that the original ring is "now more meaningful than ever."

And, what's Nick's takeaway from the experience?

"Check your toilets when you lose things," he joked.

Credits: Screen captures via

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, country music star Jon Pardi sings about falling in love and growing old together in the easy-listening country hit, “Head Over Boots.”


He sings, “The way you sparkle like a diamond ring / Maybe one day we can make it a thing / Test time and grow old together / Rock in our chairs and talk about the weather, yeah.”

The 2015 song was inspired by the loving couples Pardi observed in the dance halls near his father’s home in Hill County, TX. The older folks and younger folks sharing the dance floor looked so happy two-stepping around a circle that he decided to write “Head Over Boots” with an old-school vibe energized by a fiddle accompaniment.

“I was sitting in Spring Branch, TX, at my dad’s house and I started kinda strummin’ this little old-sounding country thing in his living room, and I recorded it on my phone,” the 37-year-old Pardi explained on the Universal Music Group Nashville website. “I was thinking, ‘Man, I need a good love song for the ladies out there.'”

And that’s when he came up with the idea of “head over boots,” a country version of the term “head over heels.”

“I went to [co-writer] Luke Laird and we kind of threw out the title and we came up with a cool little old-school modern new love song, and it’s my first love song on Country radio,” he said at the time of the song's release.

Pardi and Laird revealed to Billboard magazine that their feel-good song is actually written from two perspectives. Unwed at the time, Pardi saw the song from the point of view of someone looking for a long-term relationship, while his married writing partner approached the song from the vantage point of a family man who is dedicated to keeping the romantic spark alive in his relationship.

Pardi is now a married man. He proposed to Summer Duncan in 2019 and the couple married in 2020. They are expecting their first child.

“Head Over Boots,” which was released as the lead single from Pardi’s second studio album, California Sunrise, shot to the top of the US Billboard Country Airplay chart. It also peaked at #4 on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs list and #51 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song also reached #2 on the Canada Country chart and #64 on the Canadian Hot 100.

Please check out the video of Pardi and his band performing “Head Over Boots.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Head Over Boots”
Written by Jon Pardi and Luke Laird. Performed by Jon Pardi.

I wanna sweep you off your feet tonight
I wanna love you and hold you tight
Spin you around on some old dance floor
Act like we never met before for fun, ’cause

You’re the one I want, you’re the one I need
Baby, if I was a king, ah, you would be my queen
You’re the rock in my roll
You’re good for my soul, it’s true
I’m head over boots for you

The way you sparkle like a diamond ring
Maybe one day we can make it a thing
Test time and grow old together
Rock in our chairs and talk about the weather, yeah

So, bring it on in for that angel kiss
Put that feel good on my lips, ’cause

You’re the one I want, you’re the one I need
Baby, if I was a king, ah, you would be my queen
You’re the rock in my roll
You’re good for my soul, it’s true
I’m head over boots for you

Yeah, I’m here to pick you up
And I hope I don’t let you down, no, ’cause

You’re the one I want, you’re the one I need
Baby, if I was a king, ah, you would be my queen
You’re the rock in my roll
You’re good for my soul, it’s true
I’m head over boots for you

You’re the one I want, you’re the one I need
Baby, if I was a king, ah, you would be my queen
You’re the rock in my roll
You’re good for my soul, it’s true
I’m head over boots for you

I wanna sweep you off your feet tonight
I wanna love you and hold you tight
Spin you around on some old dance floor

Credit: Screen capture via / CMT.

A vibrant amethyst cross favored by Diana, Princess of Wales, will headline Sotheby's "Royal and Noble” online auction from January 6 through 18. The piece carries a presale estimate of £80,000 to £120,000 ($96,000 to $144,000), but could sell for much more due to its royal provenance.


“Jewelry owned or worn by the late Princess Diana very rarely comes on to the market, especially a piece such as The Attallah Cross, which is so colorful, bold and distinctive,” said Kristian Spofforth, head of jewelry for Sotheby’s London.

According to the auction house, the late '80s was a time when Diana was making bolder fashion choices and taking more autonomy in her life. It was during this period, in 1987, that British Crown Jeweler Garrard lent her an eye-catching amethyst-and-diamond cross to pair with an exquisite baroque-style purple and black velvet dress by Catherine Walker & Co.


She wore the ensemble to a high-profile event held at Garrard's London headquarters in support of Birthright, a charity which strives to protect human rights during pregnancy and childbirth. Diana confidently dangled the large 136 x 95mm amethyst cross from a waist-length strand of pearls.

Designed by British Crown Jeweler Garrard circa 1920, the piece was originally commissioned by a regular customer, but later circled back to Garrard, where it was purchased during the 1980s by the late Naim Attallah (1931-2021), a high-level executive at the jewelry company.

Over the years, she would continue to collaborate with Garrard, borrowing her favorite amethyst and diamond cross on many more occasions, as recalled by Naim Attallah's son, Ramsay.


“Princess Diana and my father were friends, and I remember that she often came to see him at the historic Garrard store on Regent Street, where his office was, and she would ask to borrow the pendant on several occasions. She really loved the piece,” Ramsay related via Sotheby’s.

According to Ramsay, nobody other than Princess Diana has ever worn what is now known as "The Attallah Cross."

“When I was growing up, we’d always have it on the table for Christmas lunch," Ramsay told, "but it was never worn by anyone other than Diana and it hasn’t been seen in public since she died [in 1997].”

Designed with square-cut amethysts and circular-cut diamonds, the fleurée cross has a total diamond weight of 5.25 carats.

Fans of Princess Diana may remember that her famous sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring was sourced at Garrard.

Back in February of 1981, Prince Charles proposed to the 20-year-old Lady Diana with a ring that the future princess picked out herself. According to the editors of Vogue, some members of the British royal family fumed at Diana’s choice — not because it featured an unconventional center stone, but because it was a stock item from the Garrard catalog.

Founded in London in 1735, Garrard was the official crown jeweler of the UK from 1843 until 2007. The distinguished company that had been entrusted with the upkeep of the British Crown Jewels was the logical source for Diana’s bridal jewelry.

So, in the lead-up to their engagement, the 32-year-old Prince Charles presented his bride-to-be with a bunch of design options from Garrard. Her favorite was an 18-karat white gold ring set with a 12-carat oval Ceylon sapphire surrounded by a halo of 14 round white diamonds.

In Diana’s eyes, the ring was perfect. She loved it so much that she didn’t request any modifications or customizations.

In the eyes of her critics and some members of the royal family, the ring was sub-standard because it was hardly unique. Critics called the Garrard stock item a “commoner’s ring” because any non-royal with a $60,000 budget could purchase the exact piece.

Nevertheless, Diana’s sapphire and diamond engagement ring would become one of the most recognizable and imitated engagement rings of all time.

Credits: Amethyst cross photos courtesy of Sotheby's. Photo of Princess Diana dancing with John Travolta at the White House in 1985 by United States Federal Government, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Boston Celtics point guard Marcus Smart sent the Twitterverse into a tizzy on Sunday, just hours after the team's convincing win over the Milwaukee Bucks.


In a series of cryptic posts, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year hinted that his days in Boston were numbered, but then delivered the surprising punchline that he had just popped the question to longtime girlfriend Maissa Hallum.

At 10:56 p.m. on Christmas Day, Smart took to Twitter to announce to his near half-million followers, "I’ve had enough. Been holding it in too long and it’s about time this gets said..."

Three minutes later, he added a splash of gasoline to the fire, writing on Twitter, "It’s time for me to leave..."

But just as Celtic fans were starting to panic, Smart's post from 11:01 put them at ease. Along with a photo of him and Hallum wearing matching holiday pajamas, Smart dropped the big news.

"Oh I forgot the rest… Time for me to leave the single life," he wrote, adding, "She said YES!!! (Whew)"


In the photo, Hallum is proudly showing off her new engagement ring, featuring what appears to be a large princess-cut diamond set on a diamond-accented band. As of this writing, Smart's proposal announcement has been seen 15.2 million times on Twitter.

On his Instagram page, Smart shared a video of the actual proposal, which included a pre-taped guest appearance by actor Will Smith.


Smart, Hallum and other guests are all together in Smart's home theater as Smith appears on the big screen with a holiday message shot from Antarctica.

"We’re coming back from the South Pole, but I just wanted to take a minute," said Smith, who is dressed in cold-weather gear. "I wanted to wish you a very, very Merry Christmas. Now, I know that you may not have gotten the stuff that you wanted. I promise you, you’re not going to end this Christmas empty-handed, OK. That’s all my message is."


Hallum, who seems to be amused, but also a bit confused by the celebrity's message, doesn't notice what is happening right behind her.


Smart taps her on the shoulder and she spins around to see the Celtics star on bended knee with a ring box in hand. At first, a shocked Hallum turns away with her hands over her face, but then embraces her boyfriend and accepts his proposal.


On Instagram, Smart wrote, "She said “Y E S”! (Whew!) Thanks @willsmith for the setup help!"

You can check Smart's Instagram carousel, which includes the heartwarming video, here

Credits: Screen captures via Instagram / youngamechanger.

More than 2.5 million people from every corner of the Earth journey to Rockefeller Center in New York City each year to see a spectacular Christmas tree topped by a 900-pound star sparkling with 3 million Swarovski crystals.


Designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the mammoth star has a wingspan of 9 feet 4 inches. Each of the 70 rays of the Swarovski Star is designed to glow from within, with the light refracted by the crystal surface, creating a sparkling effect.


When the star made its debut in 2018, Libeskind said his tree-topper was inspired by the beauty of starlight — something that radiates meaning and mystery into the world.

“The Star is a symbol that represents our greatest ambitions for hope, unity and peace,” he said in 2018. “I am tremendously honored to collaborate with Swarovski on the Star, and with the entire design team, to bring cutting-edge innovation and design to crystal technology.”

The current star replaced a more diminutive Swarovski Star that had been in service since 2004. That star weighed 550 pounds and was studded with 25,000 crystals, about 8% of the tally of the current star.

This year's Rockefeller Center tree is an 82-foot-tall, 50-foot-wide Norway Spruce from Queensbury, NY, about 200 miles north of Manhattan in the Hudson Valley. It weighs in at a formidable 14 tons.

The tree was hoisted into position on Saturday, November 12, and was soon wrapped with more than 50,000 multi-colored LEDs strung over five miles of wire. The formal tree lighting took place during a live NBC broadcast on November 30.

Rockefeller Center officially began its tree-lighting tradition in 1933, when a Christmas tree was erected in front of the then-RCA Building and covered with 700 lights. The lighting ceremony has been broadcast live since 1951.

If you're planning to be in Manhattan in the near future, there's still time to experience this bucket-list spectacle. The tree will remain lit at least until January 6. Rockefeller Center's website has yet to officially announcement when the tree will be taken down, but other sites are reporting that it will be Sunday, January 15.

So, what happens to the 14-ton tree when the season is over? Since 2007, the wood has been donated to Habitat for Humanity. The tree is milled, treated and made into lumber, which is then used to build homes for people in need.

The heartwarming gesture inspired a children's book called The Carpenter’s Gift, which was written by David Rubel and illustrated by Jim LaMarche. It was published in 2011 in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity.

Credits: Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree photo by Anthony Quintano from Mount Laurel, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Photo of Nadja Swarovski and Daniel Libeskind with the Swarovski Star in 2018 by Bryan Bedder Getty for Swarovski (PRNewsfoto/Swarovski).

It's Music Friday, and with Christmas only two days away, we're excited to bring you one of the most viral holiday-season songs of all time — Straight No Chaser’s witty and masterfully arranged rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” To date, the original version of the a cappella group’s “12 Days” has been viewed on YouTube more than 25 million times.


As most of us know, the jewelry reference in this sing-along classic comes on the fifth day of Christmas when “my true love gave to me, five golden rings.”

Straight No Chaser’s “12 Days” is famous for its comic infusions of other songs, such as “I Have a Little Dreidel” and Toto’s “Africa.” SNC’s version was inspired by a 1968 comic arrangement of the song by Richard C. Gregory, a faculty member of The Williston Northampton School, a boarding school in western Massachusetts.

Originated on the campus of Indiana University in 1996, Straight No Chaser owes its worldwide fame to a video of a 1998 "12 Days" performance that was first posted to YouTube in 2006. That video went viral and caught the attention of Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman, who signed the group to a five-album deal in 2008.

“The 12 Days of Christmas” appeared as the eighth track from the group’s 2008 debut studio album, Holiday Spirits, which peaked at #46 on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart.

The classic version of the song can be traced to England in 1780, when is was published as a chant or rhyme. The standard tune associated with it is derived from an arrangement credited to English composer Frederic Austin in 1909. Interestingly, he’s the one who came up with the idea of prolonging the phrase “five… golden… rings…”

Straight No Chaser is currently on the final leg of a 61-city "25th Anniversary Celebration" tour that started in Kitchener, Ontario, at the beginning of June and ends in Portland, OR, on New Year's Eve.

Please check out the video of Straight No Chaser performing “The 12 Days of Christmas” during the group's reunion tour in 2008.

Credit: Promotional photo via

Eyeglass wearers rejoice. Swiss researchers say they've solved the ever-vexing issue of fogged spectacles with a neat solution: a thinner-than-thin coating of gold.


Researchers from ETH Zurich have developed a new transparent gold nanocoating — about 12 times thinner than gold leaf — that harnesses sunlight to heat the lenses, thereby preventing moisture in the air from condensing on them.

The scientists explained that half of the energy contained in sunlight resides in the infrared spectrum, the other half in the visible light and UV radiation spectrum.

“Our coating absorbs a large proportion of the infrared radiation, which causes it to heat up – by up to 8 degrees Celsius,” explained ETH doctoral student Iwan Hächler, who was a driving force behind the development. The coating absorbs only a minor fraction of the radiation in the visible range, which is the reason why the coating is transparent.


Interestingly, for more than 50 years NASA has depended on gold’s amazing characteristics — reflectance, durability, conductivity and physical workability — to ensure safe and successful manned missions to space.

When astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface in July of 1969 and proclaimed, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” his eyes were protected by a visor plated with an ultra-thin layer of gold.

Both he and fellow moon walker Buzz Aldrin were outfitted with what NASA called a Lunar Extravehicular Visor Assembly, or LEVA for short. Gold does an excellent job of reflecting infrared light while letting in visible light, so NASA scientists coated the visors with a gold layer so thin — 0.000002 inches — that astronauts could see through it.


The new coating introduced by ETH Zurich comprises extremely thin clusters of gold sandwiched between two ultra-thin layers of titanium oxide, an electrically insulating material.

Due to their refractive properties, these two outer layers increase the efficacy of the heating effect. What's more, the top layer of titanium oxide acts as a finish that protects the gold layer from wear. This whole “sandwich” is just 10 nanometers thick. By comparison, the gold layer on Armstrong's visor was approximately 50 nanometers thick.

The researchers emphasized that although gold is expensive, the coating requires so little precious metal that the manufacturing costs remain low.

The team is also trying to determine if the anti-fogging method may be used to enhance other objects that need to be heated and defogged, such as windows, mirrors or optical sensors.

Credits: Eyeglass photo and coating illustration courtesy of ETH Zurich. Visor photo by Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The 45-carat, pear-shaped, royal blue sapphire atop the brand new Miss Universe "Force for Good" crown symbolizes female empowerment, positive change and the hope for a brighter future.


More than 500 million viewers will marvel at the extraordinary headpiece when the current Miss Universe, India's Harnaaz Sandhu, crowns her successor at the 71st Miss Universe pageant in New Orleans on January 14. The event will be broadcast in more than 190 countries and territories.


Set with 993 gems and said to be worth $5.5 million, the crown was unveiled Monday in Bangkok by Fred Mouawad, the fourth generation co-guardian of the luxury Mouawad brand, along with Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, the new Thai owner of the Miss Universe Organization.

A video produced by Mouawad and posted to the Miss Universe Instagram page explains the interplay between the white diamonds on the base of the crown and the blue sapphires that dominate the top of the crown.

Reflecting the concept that significant change does not happen in an instant, but only after a sustained effort over time, the base of the crown is set with white diamonds symbolizing the status quo. The abstract serpent-like motif adorning the rim represents the status quo and barriers to change. These are outnumbered and dominated by the rippling waves above, as ultimately the force for good emerges victorious.


The video includes an animation that exaggerates the undulating, serpent-inspired design of the base. See the screen capture, above.

As the eye moves upward from the base, the color gradient changes from the glistening white of diamonds to the warm blue of sapphires, deepening in intensity towards the pinnacle of the crown, where the deep royal blue color of the 45-carat sapphire symbolizes goodness and hope for a brighter future.

"As we are stepping into the new era of women's empowerment," said Jakrajutatip, "[Miss Universe] will continue to be a global organization run by women for women with a promise to serve as an inspirational platform that celebrates diverse women, supporting them to realize their ambition and build self-confidence, while evolving the brand over time to be more relevant and appealing to the next generation."

Commented Mouawad, "The Mouawad Miss Universe Force for Good crown is a work of extraordinary craftsmanship, featuring 110 carats of blue sapphires and 48 carats of white diamonds in a design that evokes the organization's belief in a future forged by women who push the limits of what's possible and the incredible women from around the world who advocate for positive change."

You can check out the Mouawad-produced video at the Miss Universe Instagram page. Click this link.

Credits. Screen captures via Instagram / MissUniverse.

If National Retail Federation projections proved accurate, more than 158 million consumers rushed to buy holiday gifts on “Super Saturday,” the last Saturday before Christmas Eve.


This figure is approximately 10 million more than last year’s estimated number of Super Saturday shoppers and the highest number since NRF first started tracking this data in 2016.

Supersaturday2.2 1

This year, 21% of shoppers participating in the NRF survey expressed a desire to receive jewelry this holiday season. That figure is up 1 percentage point from a year earlier. Interestingly, gift givers are apparently taking note of their loved ones' desires, because 20% of respondents told the NRF that they would be gifting jewelry this holiday season.

Supersaturday2.3 1

Of the 158.5 million anticipated Super Saturday shoppers, 44.1 million (28%) were expected to shop exclusively in stores, 42.1 million (27%) would be making purchases only online and 72.2 million (46%) would be shopping both in stores and online.

NRF has predicted that holiday season sales will grow between 6% and 8% over 2021 to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion. The holiday season is defined as November 1 through December 31.

“Consumers have been shopping in record numbers this year, purchasing holiday items for friends and loved ones,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “With Super Saturday falling eight days before Christmas, retailers [were] prepared to help shoppers fulfill their last-minute purchases that [would] make this holiday season memorable.”

The NRF is expecting a late sales surge from a great number of shopping procrastinators. More than half of respondents (52%) admitted that they will still be picking up last-minute gifts in the week leading up to Christmas.

Additionally, 70% of those surveyed said their shopping plans will extend beyond December 25. This is on par with pre-pandemic levels for post-Christmas shopping.

“Strong shopping is expected after Christmas as holiday shoppers aim to take advantage of retailers’ sales and promotions,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “In the week following Christmas Day, we expect to see consumers maximize holiday sales and promotions, use gift cards and return or exchange unwanted gifts.”

The NRF also identified a noticeable shift in the way young people have paid for the holiday items. About three-quarters (76%) of those aged 18 to 24 say they have used an alternative payment method or digital wallet so far this holiday shopping season. Some of more popular methods include PayPal, Apple Pay and CashApp.

The NRF Super Saturday survey of 7,857 consumers was conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics from December 1 through December 7 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.

Credits: Image by Tables courtesy of NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Egypt’s Supreme Council for Archaeology recently unearthed ancient mummies with solid gold tongues in their mouths at a site 40 miles north of Cairo on the Nile Delta.


Archaeologists believe the mummies' actual tongues had been replaced by golden replicas during the embalming process so the deceased could communicate with Osiris, the Egyptian god of the underworld. Also discovered on the bones of several mummies were solid gold flakes, scarabs and lotus flowers.


The gold-tongue mummies were found during newly extended excavations of the Quewaisna necropolis that had been first explored in 1989. Salvaged items from the site — including amulets, figurines and pottery — have been dated from 300 BCE to 640 CE, and cover the Ptolemaic and Roman periods of Egyptian history. The mummies are believed to be more than 2,000 years old.


This wasn't the first time Egyptian archaeologists encountered golden tongues. In 2021, archaeologists made similar discoveries in both the coastal metropolis of Alexandria and the small village of El Bahnasa, about 130 miles south of Cairo.

It is likely that Egyptian embalmers equipped the deceased with golden tongues so they could better navigate the afterlife. It is well known that Egyptian mummies have been entombed with personal possessions and valuable items, such as food and wine, furniture, clothing, pottery and jewelry.

But the gold tongues are likely connected to Osiris, the Lord of Silence, who enforced a strict rule of speechlessness in the underworld. Ancient Egyptians may have believed that a golden tongue would allow the deceased to communicate with Osiris without making a sound.

The ancient Egyptians described gold as “the flesh of the gods” and believed the gleaming element possessed spiritual powers. Gold was also associated with Ra, the Sun God, who was the king of the deities and the father of all creation. He was the patron of the sun, heaven, kingship, power and light, according to

Credits: Images courtesy of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

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