Topaz Goldsmiths and Gallery

Topaz Goldsmiths and Gallery
January 23rd, 2017
A backstage worker at the 50th Annual CMA Awards in Nashville in November found a pretty pear-shaped stone sitting on top of a band cart and dropped it in his pocket, reasoning that it was merely a worthless prop.

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The "prop" turned out to be a 13.73-carat colored diamond that had come loose from a ring worn by Beyoncé after her show-stopping performance with the Dixie Chicks. The gem had been borrowed from designer Lorraine Schwartz and was said to be worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars."

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Even though the show's organizers alerted many members of the stage crew about the missing diamond and spearheaded a frantic search, Jesus Lopez was not aware of the loss and went about his normal routine of unloading band carts at the Bridgestone Arena — with the gem safely tucked in his pants pocket. After the show, he gifted the stone to his wife.

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"I've been doing CMA for the last 12 years, and I have seen a lot of different jewelry, fake jewelry, rhinestones," Lopez told Nashville's News Channel 5. "I gave it to my wife thinking, of course, it was a rhinestone."

On the day after the show, Lopez's son, who also was a member of the stage crew and had heard rumblings about the lost gemstone, told his dad, "Do you know what you found? You found Beyoncé's diamond."

Lopez knew that the right thing to do was to return the gem to its rightful owner, but he hoped that his granddaughter might benefit from his honesty.

"When I heard it was Beyoncé, I said, 'Well, maybe my granddaughter can meet Beyoncé and give it to her herself,'" Lopez told Nashville's News Channel 5.

Lopez soon learned that the diamond had been on loan from Schwartz and that the diamond had to be returned to the designer. A meeting with the singer was not in the cards. Schwartz's representative picked up the diamond from Lopez and presented him with an undisclosed reward.

Lopez told a reporter that he still held out hope that his granddaughter could meet Beyoncé one day, but even if she doesn't he's pleased that the valuable diamond was able to find it's way back to its rightful owner instead of being lost or thrown away.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com; Newschannel5.com.
January 20th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you chart-topping songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, a chance after-hours encounter between a bar owner and a patron results in a marriage proposal in Brad Paisley's country hit "We Danced."

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In the song written by Paisley and Charles Dubois, the narrator is a bar owner who is cleaning up after closing time. A woman, who had been in the bar earlier that evening, has returned to retrieve a misplaced purse. The two get lost in conversation, and the bar owner insists that the only way he'll return the purse he had found earlier is if she agrees to dance with him.

With the chairs up and the lights turned down, the coupled danced — and instantly fell in love.

Paisley sings, "And from that moment, there was never any doubt / I had found the one that I had always dreamed about / And then one evenin', when she stopped by after work / I pulled a diamond ring out of the pocket of my shirt."

In a fun twist, the woman says she'll marry him under one condition — that he agrees to dance with her.

"We Danced" was the fourth and final single from the 44-year-old singer-songwriter's wildly successful 1999 debut album Who Needs Pictures. The song went to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and was nominated for Song of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards.

That album helped launch a stellar career that claimed 32 top-10 singles on the US Billboard Country Airplay chart, 19 of which have reached #1. Paisley has sold more than 12 million albums, won three Grammy Awards, 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, 14 Country Music Association Awards and two American Music Awards. At the age of 28, he became the youngest artist ever to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

A West Virginia native, Bradley Douglas "Brad" Paisley was introduced to country music by his grandfather, Warren Jarvis, who gave the eight-year-old his first guitar, a Sears Danelectro Silvertone. Jarvis taught his grandson to play, and by the age of 10 Paisley was already performing at his church.

While in junior high, Paisley was doing a show at a local Rotary Club, when he was discovered by a program director for a Wheeling, West Virginia, radio station. He was invited to be a guest on the popular radio show "Wheeling Jamboree" and the rest is history.

Please check out the audio track of Paisley's "We Danced." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"We Danced"
Written by Brad Paisley and Charles Dubois. Performed by Brad Paisley.

The bar was empty, I was sweeping up the floor
That's when she walked in, I said, "I'm sorry but we're closed"
And she said "I know but I'm afraid I left my purse"
I said, "I put one back behind the bar, I bet it's probably yours"

And the next thing that I knew
There we were, lost in conversation
And before I handed her her purse
I said, "You'll only get this back on one condition"

And we danced
Out there on that empty hardwood floor
The chairs up and the lights turned way down low
The music played, we held each other close
And we danced

And from that moment, there was never any doubt
I had found the one that I had always dreamed about
And then one evenin', when she stopped by after work
I pulled a diamond ring out of the pocket of my shirt

And as her eyes filled up with tears
She said, "This is the last thing I expected"
And then she took me by the hand
And said, "I'll only marry you on one condition"

And we danced
Out there on that empty hardwood floor
The chairs up and the lights turned way down low
The music played, we held each other close

And we danced
Like no one else had ever danced before
I can't explain what happened on that floor
But the music played, we held each other close
And we danced, yeah, we danced


Credit: Photo by minds-eye (Brad Paisley) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
January 19th, 2017
An extraordinary 887-carat rough emerald dubbed "La Gloria" will headline Guernsey's auction of the Marcial de Gomar Collection on April 12 in New York City.

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"La Gloria," which is said to be the largest Muzo rough emerald in North America, carries a preliminary estimate of $4 to $5 million and is part of a 2,000-carat collection that is expected to yield a total of $15 million to $20 million.

Included in the group are more than 20 loose emeralds — both faceted and rough — as well as 13 pieces of emerald jewelry. The museum-quality emeralds were collected by gem expert Manuel Marcial de Gomar during his 62-year career spent in the U.S. and in the jungles of Columbia, specifically at the Muzo mines, which are famous for yielding the world's finest emeralds.

Emeralds from this mine are known for their legendary saturation and hue. In fact, "Muzo Green" is often the yardstick by which all other emeralds are judged.

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Along with "La Gloria," the auction house is spotlighting the "Tears of Fura," a matched pair of teardrop-shaped Muzo emeralds, and the "Marcial de Gomar Star," a rare double-sided star emerald.

The "Tears of Fura" have a combined total weight of 95.51 carats and a preliminary estimate of $3 million to $4 million. The name of the stones honors the two Colombian mountain peaks of Fura and Tena, which were considered sacred by the Muzo people. They believed Fura and Tena were the parents of humanity and legend states that the tears of Fura became emeralds and butterflies.

The "Marcial de Gomar Star" weighs 25.86 carats and is the largest of only 11 star emeralds known to exist. It displays a six-rayed star that is visible from both sides. (The auction house noted that this may be the first known double-sided star emerald). The gem's preliminary estimate is $2 million to $3 million.

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Marcial de Gomar's firsthand knowledge and experience with rare emeralds, including shipwreck-origin emeralds, has placed him in demand as an author, lecturer and consultant. He is also the founder of Emeralds International, LLC.

Decades ago, Marcial de Gomar befriended Mel Fisher, the treasure hunter best known for his work with the sunken Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha. Several Muzo emeralds and rare gold coins from the Atocha passed into the Marcial de Gomar Collection and will be included at the Guernsey event.

The auction will be conducted live at the Americas Society at 680 Park Avenue with online bidding at www.liveauctioneers.com.

Credit: Images courtesy of Guernsey's.
January 18th, 2017
For the second time in two months, workers at the Town of Babylon Recycling Center on Long Island have defied all odds by turning up treasured diamond rings among tons of stinky garbage.

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West Babylon resident Vicky Salzone had accidentally tossed three diamond bands into a trash bag while sorting through old Christmas decorations. By the next morning, she and her husband of 34 years, Joe, realized the irreplaceable rings were gone and that they were probably on the way to the sanitation burn plant.

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“When I heard the garbage trucks outside I had this feeling that I should stop them because something is wrong," Joe told Newsday. "I called the town and said, ‘I think my wife’s rings are in the garbage.’”

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His Friday the 13th request was referred to the Town of Babylon Recycling Center, where managers Ed Wiggins and John Bonavita were ready to duplicate the success they had only two months earlier when a similar request came in.

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The garbage truck was diverted to the center, where the load was set to be dumped. Joe also headed out to join in the search.

“I said, ‘You know, what’s the odds of us really doing this two times in a row?’” Wiggins told CBS2.

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According to Wiggins, there's a science to determining exactly where in a truck load a particular garbage bag is likely to be. The bags collected at the beginning of the route end up toward the front of the truck, while the bags picked up last will be in the back.

Using that logic, Wiggins and his team knew the bag had to be about three-quarters into the truck. Vicky was also certain that they were looking for a white stretch bag, with a diamond-patterned surface and black tie.

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By 8 a.m., the search was on, and within a half hour, the recycling team had found the bag and secured the rings.

In a scene captured with a cell phone, Bonita tells Vicky the good news...

“You found the rings?” Vicky screams.

“I found the rings," answers Bonita. "Yes, I got all three of them.”

“Friday the 13th is my lucky day now,” says Vicky.

Wiggins and Bonavita are getting so good at finding valuables amid tons of rotting trash that their co-workers have dubbed each of them "Lord of the Rings.

Wiggins complimented Joe for his willingness to wade into piles of garbage in search of his wife's wedding bands.

“He wanted the rings that were blessed at his wedding,” Wiggins told Newsday. “I gotta give the guy credit, he jumped right in there.”

In mid-November, the team found the wedding rings of North Babylon resident Colleen Dyckman. That search took four hours.

Wiggins told Newsday that during his 40 years in the sanitation business, he's been called on to find precious jewelry a dozen or so times. Before this November, he's met with success only twice. Now's he's found the treasure two times in a row, only two months apart.

To show their gratitude, the Salzones provided the sanitation crew with a catered lunch, and offered a heartfelt review.

“They’re good people at the town,” Joe told Newsday. “They do dirty work, but they are just absolutely wonderful.”

Credits: Screen captures via newyorkcbslocal.com.
January 17th, 2017
A lower-Manhattan restaurant called Industry Kitchen has created a $2,000 gilded pizza that would feel right at home in one of our fine jewelry showcases.

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Completely covered in strips of 24-karat gold leaf and sprinkled with 24-karat gold flakes, "The fancy'za" is marketed to the tony Wall Street crowd who can afford to purchase what may be the most expensive pizza to ever emerge from a wood-fired oven.

Certainly, you need more than gold leaf to make a luxurious pizza, and Industry Kitchen's executive chef Braulio Bunay took the challenge seriously.

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The pizza starts with a squid ink dough, which needs to rest for 48 hours. The chef stretches the greyish-black dough and tops it with a generous portion of Stilton cheese from England. Next, it's baked in a wood-fired oven at 585 degrees.

Once cooked, the pizza is sliced into eight pieces and is ready for a number of ultra-special toppings, including shaved truffles and slices of foie gras from France, 24-karat gold leaf and gold flakes, large dollops of Osetra caviar from the Caspian Sea and edible flowers. The gold leaf is delicately applied in rows of one-inch-wide strips, while the gold flakes are added using a shaker.

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"It is the epitome of decadence," Bunay told Town and Country. “The pizza is extremely rich. If you’re in the mood for a lavish meal, this is the pizza for you.”

Those interested in trying Bunay's glittery and pungent pie at the restaurant's South Street location in the Financial District will need to order it 48 hours in advance (the squid ink dough needs that time to do its thing).

Interestingly, of all the extraordinary ingredients layered onto "The fancy'za" pizza, the 24-karat gold elements are the least tasty. In fact, gold leaf and gold flakes have no taste at all. They're used for their aesthetic value.

Bunay is not the only chef to add gold to his pizzas. Last year, over at Pizza Hut's test kitchen in Plano, Texas, the fast food chain came up with a special version of its Stuffed Garlic Knots Pizza that was topped with $100 worth of edible 24-karat gold.

Fifty fans who ordered that type of pizza on the day of the 2016 Super Bowl were surprised when a Pizza Hut delivery person drove up with the gilded version. The pizza was presented in a specially designed golden box along with a $100 Pizza Hut Gold Card.

Check out Insider's video, which shows how Bunay assembles his gilded pizza...


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/Insider; Pizza image via Facebook/IndustryKitchenNYC.
January 16th, 2017
On the tiny island of Guam, a cold-hearted soccer referee booked a player for celebrating his sensational bicycle kick goal with an on-field marriage proposal.

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On January 7, NAPA Rovers' striker Ashton Surber was having his best day ever. In the 35th minute of the Premier Division match against the first place Shipyard team, the player buried a bicycle kick — also called an overhead kick or scissors kick — into the top corner of the goal to put his team up 3-0.

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The ecstatic player sprinted toward the visitor's sideline, looking for his girlfriend in the stands while stripping off his shirt. Under his team shirt was an undershirt with the question “MARRY ME?” emblazoned in bold black letters on the front.

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Apparently, the striker had been planning to propose, but needed the perfect moment to pop the question. Successfully executing a bicycle kick — during which a player faces away from the goal, jumps backwards into the air and then kicks the ball when it is above his head — was just the ticket.

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As he made eye contact with his now-fiancée, La’Kiesha Pereda, Surber's elation contrasts with the scowl of the referee, who has followed the player to the sideline.

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The referee reaches into his pocket and issues Surber a yellow card for the infraction of removing his shirt during a game. From the referee's viewpoint, he can't see the proposal message on Surber's shirt and seems oblivious to the fact that he's throwing shade on an epic romantic moment.

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Unfazed, Surber continues the proposal and the celebration. He gets down on one knee, blows a kiss to his girlfriend and points to the cheering fans.

The defending champion NAPA Rovers won the match 5-1, putting the team on top in the Premier Division.

More importantly, Pereda said "Yes" to her boyfriend's proposal.

On Twitter, the Guam Football Association posted a clip of the fun sequence with the following caption: "When your life goals come together w/your soccer goals - a bicycle kick goal and by a proposal to now fiancée."

The Guam Football Association also published a longer clip on YouTube.com. Enjoy.


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/GuamFootball.
January 13th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg compares his love to the hardest material known to man in the introspective "Diamonds to Dust."

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In the song, Fogelberg decodes how even the strongest relationships can break down over time — and uses a precious gemstone to make his point. He sings, "Once there was love here / And once there was trust / Once it was honest / And open and just / Our love was a diamond / That grew between us / But time can turn even / Diamonds to Dust."

"Diamonds to Dust" appeared as seventh track from Fogelberg's album Love in Time. The album was released in September of 2009, nearly two years after the artist's untimely death at the age of 56. Fogelberg, who battled with cancer since 2004, had completed the songs for the album and put them in a safe deposit box. He asked his wife, Jean, to release the album after his death. Fogelberg passed away at his home in Deer Isle, Maine, on December 16, 2007. His ashes were scattered into the Atlantic Ocean.

When the album was released, Jean wrote, "His music continues — a living legacy to one of the most versatile and talented musicians, singers and songwriters of his generation."

Jean used the phrase "living legacy" as a nod to her husband's favorite, and most famous song, "Leader of the Band" (1981), which he wrote to honor his father, Lawrence, a high school band director. For that song, he penned the famous line, "I'm just a living legacy to the leader of the band."

Born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1951, Daniel Grayling "Dan" Fogelberg was the youngest of three sons. As an adolescent he taught himself to play a Hawaiian slide guitar — a gift from his grandfather. At age 14, he joined a Beatles cover band, The Clan, and by 1967 he was writing songs for another cover band, The Coachmen. By the late 1970s and into the early 1980s, Fogelberg was topping the charts with a string of platinum-selling albums and singles. His 1982 Greatest Hits album went triple platinum.

In a tribute to its hometown hero, the city of Peoria renamed Abington Street in the city's East Bluff neighborhood "Fogelberg Parkway."

Please check out the audio track of Fogelberg performing "Diamonds to Dust." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Diamonds To Dust"
Written and performed by Dan Fogelberg.

Diamonds to Dust
Oh, Diamonds to Dust
Time can turn even
Diamonds to Dust

Love is a question
That few understand
It runs like a river
Between a woman and man
But its course can get twisted
And its bed can run dry
And our hearts become deserts
In the wink of an eye

Once there was love here
And once there was trust
Once it was honest
And open and just
Our love was a diamond
That grew between us
But time can turn even
Diamonds to Dust

(chorus)
Diamonds to Dust
Oh, Diamonds to Dust
Time can turn even
Diamonds to Dust
Time is a teacher
It’s kind and it’s cruel
It gives you the wisdom
To see you’re a fool
And it gives love and takes love
It hurts and it heals
And it never parts easy
With the truth it reveals

(chorus)


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com
January 12th, 2017
January's official birthstone, the wonderfully versatile garnet, comes in a wide array of natural colors, including red, pink, purple, yellow, violet, green, black, brown and orange. Orange spessartine garnets are particularly stunning, as illustrated in this butterfly brooch that seems to be taking flight.

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Masterfully created by Buzz Gray and Bernadine Johnston, the brooch is part of a much larger collection that has appeared at both the San Diego Natural History Museum and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.

Gray, a master lapidarist, and Johnston, a jewelry designer, used bright orange spessartine garnets sourced from the Hercules Dike at the Little Three Mine in Ramona, Calif. Specimens from this mine are regarded as some of the finest in the world, although spessartine garnets are also found in Australia, Myanmar, India, Afghanistan, Israel, Madagascar and Tanzania.

The Spessartine Butterfly is beautiful to behold. The vivid orange gemstone body contrasts elegantly with the gold-outlined geometric patterns of the black and white enamel wings. Adding extra dimension to the wing design are dozens of spessartine garnets and a handful of colorless diamonds. Vivid green tsavorite garnets from Kenya are used for the eyes.

The Natural History Museum in Los Angeles explained that garnet refers to a group of silicate minerals with the same internal arrangements of atoms, but different chemical compositions. Spessartine is a manganese-aluminum-garnet popular in jewelry due to its bright shades of yellow, orange or red. Tsavorite is a green variety of grossular, a calcium-aluminum garnet, with impurities of vanadium and chromium, which give the green color.

Garnets get their name from the Latin word “granatum,” meaning pomegranate seed.

In addition to today's featured spessartine garnets, other varieties often seen in jewelry include almandine, andradite, demantoid, grossularite, hessonite, rhodolite, tsavorite and uvarovite.

Credit: Image courtesy of NHM.org.
January 11th, 2017
Sure, they're the ultimate symbol of love, but diamonds also have become the darling of the scientific community. We're starting to wonder: Is there anything a diamond can't do?

Back in November, we reported how imperfect diamonds could hold the key to the future of long-term, high-density data storage. Then, in December, we reviewed how a diamond battery made from nuclear waste could generate power for more than 5,000 years.

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Now, we've learned how lab-grown red diamonds could replace GPS systems and help make driverless cars a reality. Wow.

A team at Element Six, a tech company based in Oxfordshire, England, report that red diamonds have a remarkable sensitivity to magnetic waves due to a "nitrogen vacancy defect" in their atomic lattice. Amazingly, these diamonds can currently detect a passing car at 300 meters away.

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The scientists are suggesting that the diamonds could be programmed to pinpoint their own location on the earth by reading the magnetic waves from the sun. The new method of determining geolocation could render GPS satellites obsolete and make way for the future of driverless vehicles.

“If you have a device that is capable of sensing the surrounding magnetic fields, it also knows where it is,” noted principal research scientist Richard Bodkin. “So once you can harness all of those technologies into a single device, there is no reason why driverless cars can’t be realized.”

While the possibilities are fascinating, Element Six scientists said that diamond-guided geotracking could be decades away.

Incidentally, Element Six's primary business is developing diamond-infused cutting tools for heavy industry. The firm is principally owned by diamond mining giant De Beers.

Credit: DeYoung Red Diamond photo by Chip Clark/Smithsonian. Satellite rendering via GPS.gov.
January 10th, 2017
Guys, we know you're under a lot of pressure to "make a splash" when popping the question. You have to select the perfect ring, pen the perfect proposal and deliver it all at the perfect venue. But, despite all the meticulous planning, even the best-laid plans can end up under water, literally.

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Many a young suitor has learned a hard lesson about why engagement rings and fast-moving bodies of water don't mix. From the stories we've covered over the years, we can say for certain that it's never a great idea to get engaged near a waterfall, on a footbridge, in a paddleboat or when trying to outmaneuver crashing waves at an ocean beach.

Just recently, Isaiah Adams decided to pop the question to the love of his life, Grace, at the site of Maryland's majestic and picturesque Cunningham Falls.

A video, which has since been posted to YouTube.com and viewed 280,000 times, shows the starry-eyed gentleman on bended knee gazing up at his beloved with the roaring falls in the background.

He pulls out a ring box and asks Grace to marry him. She says, "Yes," they embrace and all seems to be perfect in their world.

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That is until he attempts to place the ring on her finger.

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Isaiah and Grace fumble the ring and it is swept away by the icy torrent.

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Onlookers can be heard screaming, "Oh my God."

Syndicated TV show Inside Edition caught up with couple a few days later. In the clip, both Isaiah and Grace are smiling despite the sad reality that the ring is likely gone forever.

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Perhaps the joy came from the fact that they still had each other and that their viral video made them instant celebrities.

“I was crying with happiness, but then I was crying with fear at the same time," Grace told Inside Edition. "I looked up and his face was just shock.”

Losing an engagement ring to a mighty waterfall was hardly a reason for the couple to change their wedding plans, however. They will be getting married on schedule.

Please check out Inside Edition's coverage of the cringeworthy proposal and surprisingly cheerful interview...


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/InsideEdition.