Monday, March 5, 2012

Between a diamond and a hard place

Richard Armitage (John Porter) examines a diamond
I don't agree with Marilyn Monroe as she sings "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend", but I will admit to being very fond of diamonds.  My husband is my best friend, and he did give me a diamond (I gave him one too), but it's not really a substitute for a true best friend.

One of my older sisters had this recording of Gary Lewis and the Playboys` big hit of 1965 This Diamond Ring.
I used to play it (without permission, as I wasn't old enough to be trusted with the record player) when no one was around, if I couldn`t beg someone else to play it for me.  I felt so sorry for the jilted lover but his words gave me some hope.
This diamond ring doesn`t shine for me anymore,
But if you find someone whose love is true,
Let it shine for you.  

Years later, I discovered my father had been a jilted lover.  He had been sweet on a girl he met while training for the RCAF during WWII.  She had just broken up with her fiance because he had gone off to war.  My father kept in touch with her during his years in England and when the war was over he sought her out in Toronto intending to propose to her. (He had already purchased the engagement ring!)  When he showed up at her apartment he must have been heartbroken to learn that her previous fiance had gotten to her first and they were already married!  Who broke the news to him?  The girl's roommate - who became my mother! 

What follows is collection of my favourite songs which make reference to diamonds.  This first one is by a Canadian singer/songwriter that I have posted tunes from previously.  This is one of his lesser known songs.  If you click on the song title, the link will take you to the lyrics and also some comments about the song by the writer.

All the Diamonds  (1973) / Bruce Cockburn

I have certainly featured the following artist on this blog many times.  This song really speaks to me as I like Denver's positive outlook on life.

Some Days are Diamonds (1981) / John Denver

Although I am an admirer of this next band and I had heard this song before, I must admit I didn't know the background to this song until I started researching this post. It is a tribute to Syd Barrett, one of the original founding members of Pink Floyd.  He was an amazingly talented guitarist and songwriter but his experimentation with drugs led to some bizarre behaviour on and off stage.  After the band replaced him, he became a recluse and rarely appeared in public.  That is, until he showed up in the studio one day, his appearance so changed that no one at first recognized him.  The year was 1975 and Pink Floyd just happened to be recording this particular song on their album Wish You Were Here.  

Shine On You Crazy Diamond (1975) / Pink Floyd

Music lovers can have a field day trying to explain the lyrics of this song!  According to some stories Paul Simon once dated a diamond merchant's daughter. Whatever the origin of the song it is certainly unique and memorable! It appears on Simon's Graceland album (one of my all-time fave albums).

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes (1986) / Paul Simon & Joseph Shabalala

I hope this sound clip works!:
That was Richard Armitage's voice speaking as Sylvester in Georgette Heyer's audio book of the same name.  He could have been speaking of Queen Elizabeth II who is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee this year.  She is only the second monarch to have ruled so long - the other being Queen Victoria.  Interesting that both were female... but then we females know we are much tougher than men!

Queen Elizabeth II in 2012
Queen Elizabeth II in 1952

She certainly glitters with all that bling.  I hope I'm not being too cheeky to dedicate this song to her.

This next song could be a theme for Guy of Gisborne and Lady Marian's relationship in the BBC's Robin Hood. See the lyrics here.

Diamond Mine (1989) / Blue Rodeo

Here is Sir Guy of Gisborne being humiliated by Robin Hood, and cruelly cast aside by the Sheriff of Nottingham, but then surprisingly, being rescued by Lady Marian.

Robin Hood BBC / Black Diamonds

Here is a men's wedding ring made with damascus steel and black diamonds. 
Wouldn't this have been perfect for Guy?

Andrew Nyce Designs
Screencap courtesy of

Diamonds weren't always the engagement ring of choice.  Here is an interesting history of diamonds as engagement rings entitled "Have Diamonds Always Meant Forever?"

Of course we mustn't forget the James Bond theme song from the movie of the same name.

Diamonds are Forever (1971) / Shirley Bassey

I thought this picture was a bit surreal when I first saw it.  It is taken from the last part of Richard Armitage's role as Ian Macalwain in Ultimate Force (2003).  I am not sure if this background poster was supposed to have any extra meaning, or it was just a strange set decoration.  I suppose it is actually ironic as poor Ian is out of the picture soon after this shot.  Perhaps it emphasizes that although a rock might be "forever", human beings are definitely not immortal.

But as long as I live and breathe I will be watching you shine, Mr. Armitage!


LadyCassia said...

Diamonds? Oh, I like the topic, in particular set in white gold. LOL!

Can I add my contribution to the compilation, Phylly?

Phylly3 said...

Thanks for sharing that song. Ben Harper is very talented! Unfortunately I had to find another video to see it as that one is blocked in Canada. How annoying is that!?
Please let me know if any of the videos are blocked in your country and I will try to find another one for you.

Joanna said...

Hi Phylly!:)
Diamonds and gold-I know this topic, I'm a goldsmith since fifteen years.
Personally, I love opals and pearls and for me Richard is a pearl.:)
Richard shines softly,he is composed of many fine layers just like a pearl and certainly is of organic origin.;)

Phylly3 said...

Welcome Joanna! A goldsmith! How interesting! I have always loved opals very much too. They are so intriguing with their colour variations. I do agree with your analogy about Richard being like a pearl. Except that I hope his genesis was not an irritation to his mother! Mother of Pearl is also lovely! :) You must be able to make yourself some gorgeous jewellery!
Thanks for your comment!

Joanna said...

LOL!Phylly!:D I'm sure that Richard is a very good son.
As for jewellery,I own one big ring,it is a practical part of my journeyman exam. I made a few nice things for family and friends.
I really like Your blog but very frequently I could not even open the page with Your blog. Blame it on my prehistoric equipment,Phylly! :)

Gratiana Lovelace said...

Hi Phylly,

Great story about how your parents met!

Ah diamonds, pearls, rubies, and sapphires. When I was young and foolish, I joked that I wanted to one day have jewelry from each of the major gem groups. Ha!

But one only has so many fingers and ears. And you don't want to look like you're wearing "gem knuckles"--though some women try, as if they were an advertisement for a jewelry story. Ha!

Besides, the gem that counts the most to me may be unpolished at times--he really does need garanimals for adults, ha!--and certainly rare, but he is infinitely cozier on a cold winter's night. Sorry RA, it's not you--or Harry.

Cheers! Grati

Phylly3 said...

Sorry. I've been told my blog takes too long to load. I'm not sure what to do about it. I do like to share a lot of videos! The sound clip does not work on Firefox and possibly not on MS Explorer (unless it is updated).
I am always open to suggestions... :)

Phylly3 said...

I love to look at beautiful jewelry (or jewellery) but it is wasted on me. Other than my wedding rings I don't trust myself with the expensive stuff. Every time I get an expensive pair of earrings I lose one of them! I lost a good watch in the lake once! Why did I wear it in a boat and then trail my hand in the water!! Silly me! I was either meant to be filthy rich where it doesn't matter if you lose a few things, or very poor where you never have anything valuable!! (Nevermind, I'm done complaining! - I can admire other people's jewellery and feel comfortable in my cheapo versions.