Going Gaga for heart shapes!

By Amanda L Colborn

In honor of Lady Gaga’s recent engagement (and her heart-stopping diamond ring), we’re celebrating the heart symbol and the heart cut diamond.

Lady Gaga's engagement ring

Lady Gaga’s engagement ring

Did you know that we can trace the heart symbol all the way back to the Ice Age era?  It’s true. Cave paintings have been discovered with this symbol that trace back to the Ice Age. Though we do not know what this symbol meant to the cavemen who drew them, we do know that it was important enough for them to often paint it on the inside of their cave walls.

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Cave painting from Cro-Magnon era

The mysterious symbol continued to show up throughout history, among several different groups of people and cultures.  For instance, the ancient Romans actually used the symbol on their currency.

Coin from Ancient Rome

Coin from ancient Rome

However, it is important to note that this symbol was not associated with the anatomical heart at all, actually the symbol for the ancient Romans was representative of the silphium plant which was used as a form of birth control in the city-state of Cyrene.

The heart shaped symbol then became a very important aspect in the religion of Christianity.  The Sacred Heart, representing Jesus Christ and his love for the people. With the spread of religion and ideas throughout the Middle Ages, eventually the symbol became a familiarity throughout the world. People began regularly associating the heart symbol with all aspects of love, however, no one is still 100% clear on how the symbol took on its universal meaning of love or why it took on the name “heart” even though it is clearly not shaped like the anatomical heart.

With its origin shrouded in mystery, one this for certain. When you present the woman you love with a heart shaped piece of jewelry, it means only one thing. She is the woman you love and you expressed that without even having to say the words. The shape says it all.

Here are several gorgeous examples of heart shaped jewelry that you can surprise your partner with any time of year!

Heart cut diamond engagement ring with halo from Steve Padis Jewelry

Heart cut diamond engagement ring with halo from Steve Padis Jewelry

 

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The Fulfillment Heart Pendant from Hearts On Fire

2.00 carat heart cut diamond ring from Tiffany Co.

2.00 carat heart cut diamond ring from Tiffany Co.

 

Celebrating Cushion Cut

By Amanda L. Colborn

One of the most popular and consistently trending diamond and gemstone shapes is the cushion cut.

Originally referred to as the “old mine cut,” the cushion cut is essentially a square cut with rounded corners, much like a cushion…hence it’s name.

Arguably, one of the top most popular cuts today – the round cut diamond being the first – the cushion cut has been around for approximately 200 years.

Cushion cuts have evolved over time, refinements have been made since the 1920’s to improve the brilliance and light return of the cut causing a big increase in popularity over time and giving you the beautiful cut that you know and love today.

 

Cushion cut earrings from Forevermark Diamonds.

Cushion Cut Yellow Diamond Earrings from Forevermark Diamonds

The cushion cut does have different cut patterns and no two gemstones are the same, so be sure to talk to your American Gem Society jeweler about which one best suits your taste.  No matter which cushion cut jewelry piece you pick, you can feel confident knowing that you’re wearing one of the most popular and coveted cuts available!

Cushion Cut Tourmaline from Omi Privé

Cushion Cut Tourmaline from Omi Privé

Why is Valentine’s Day the most romantic day of the year?

By Amanda L. Colborn

Whether you’re single or coupled up, betrothed or still dating — Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year and not just a “Hallmark holiday” as many people say and assume.

In actuality, Hallmark didn’t even produce its first Valentine’s Day card until the year 1913 – centuries after the declaration of the holiday in 1537.

The origins of Valentine’s Day are shrouded in mystery.  The Catholic church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine.  One legend tells of Valentine as a priest who served during third century Rome. Valentine defied Emperor Claudius II by marrying young lovers in secret after the Emperor outlawed marriage saying it was a distraction to men going into war.

Other stories tell of a St. Valentine who may have been killed for trying to help Christians escape the perils of Roman imprisonment.  A more famous legend eludes to St. Valentine as being the original sender of Valentine’s Day greetings when he fell in love with a young woman who upon his deathbed, wrote her a letter and signed it “From your Valentine,” an expression still very much used today!

Though there are several different stories about the origins of this holiday, they all lead back to celebrating the loving hero that was St. Valentine.

Whichever history you choose to believe, make sure you spread the love to your partner or just treat yourself to something special!

And if you really want to show your significant other how much you love them, you can join the other several million people around the world who will be announcing their engagement on this most romantic of days!  If you plan on popping the question, make sure you check out the American Gem Society’s Perfect Proposal Toolkit for everything from how to choose a ring to how to set up the perfect proposal. And share with us! Tell us your story on social media, be sure to use #AGSProposal!

Have a safe and happy holiday!

A stunning ruby and diamond ring by Suna Bros.

A stunning ruby and diamond ring by Suna Bros.

The AGS Perfect Proposal Toolkit! Everything you need this Valentine’s Day

By: Amanda L. Colborn

Ahhh…..Valentine’s Day.  Love is in the air. Everyone is getting excited. Excited about spending time with their loved one. The dates. The surprises. The perfect time to propose!

Maybe you’re on the opposite end, you’re the one trying to plan the proposal. But where do you even start? There are so many things to consider! When is the right moment? Where should I propose? Do I want other people around me or just the two of us? And of course, what will the answer be?!

You can rest assured, The American Gem Society is here to make your proposal absolutely perfect!

In preparation for arguably the most popular day for marriage proposals, the diamond and gem experts American Gem Society and American Gem Society Laboratories have launched the Perfect Proposal Toolkit, as well as an all-new proposal countdown clock.

We created this Toolkit to provide suggestions and inventive recommendations for both traditional and unconventional wedding proposals. The Toolkit provides a simple navigation experience, helping you find exactly what you’re looking for by categorizing and providing tips for romantic, funny, adventurous, “2.0” and simple proposals.

Did you know that on average, men spend a little over three months hunting for the perfect ring?  Our site provides expert advice on selecting the type of ring with which to propose (including what to look for when selecting the proper stones, settings, colors, sizes, etc.) saving you time and money, as well as memorable proposal stories, the latest trends, music playlists to set the mood and more.

The Toolkit also offers an easy to use “Find A Jeweler” feature that provides contact information on all American Gem Society certified jewelers throughout the United States.

To provide ample time to plan a small or large scale proposal, the Perfect Proposal Toolkit will be live through Valentine’s Day.

Toolkit users are encouraged to join the conversation and share their Perfect Proposal stories using the hashtag, #AGSProposal.

We cannot wait to hear from you on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook about how your perfect proposal went!

 

Celebrating the birthstone of February – Amethyst!

By: Amanda L. Colborn

Amethyst, the gemstone believed by ancient Greeks and Romans to ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus, also is said to keep the wearer clear-headed and quick-witted.

Throughout history, the gemstone has been associated with many myths, legends, religions, and numerous cultures.  English regalia were even decorated with amethysts during the Middle Ages to symbolize royalty.  Amethyst is purple quartz, a beautiful blend of violet and red that can found in every corner of the earth. Historically, the finest amethyst were found in Russia and were featured in much royal European jewelry.  Today, while Brazil is the primary source of this gemstone, fine material can be found elsewhere, especially in Zambia.

Raw amethyst at the AGS headquarters

Raw amethyst at the AGS headquarters

Amethyst pendant from Parlé Jewelry Designs

Amethyst pendant from Parlé Jewelry Designs

Amethyst ring from Parlé Jewelry Designs

Amethyst ring from Parlé Jewelry Designs

 

Rings of the Super Bowl – An Evolution

By: Amanda L. Colborn

This Super Bowl weekend we thought it would be fun to share with you the evolution of championship rings throughout the years.  Starting from the very beginning at Super Bowl I, before moving closer and closer to our present Super Bowl in five year increments, we will share with you how the design and grandeur of the ring has evolved throughout this 49-year American tradition.

Let’s start off discussing the value of championship rings. The monetary value of a Super Bowl ring is actually subjective.  For instance, in May of 2012, former New York Giants player Lawrence Taylor sold his Super Bowl XXV ring (shown below) from 1991 at an auction for $231,601.  The value of the ring is determined by the player and the value that the buyer personally feels the ring is worth.

However, the NFL does allocate $5,000 per ring to make up to 150 championship rings for the players, coaches and other team personnel.  Anything above and beyond that $5,000 is up to the team to allocate themselves.  As you will see below, $5,000 isn’t much anymore to keep on-track with how impressive the rings keep on getting.

Let’s look at their evolution now:

 

Super Bowl I - Green Bay Packers

Super Bowl I – Green Bay Packers

First and foremost, we have the first ever Super Bowl championship ring. Though beautiful and impressive in it’s own right – it definitely lacks the luster and sparkle we commonly see in more present-day championship rings.

Super Bowl V - Baltimore Colts

Super Bowl V – Baltimore Colts

Five years after Super Bowl I, we are introduced to the Super Bowl V championship ring, presented to the former Baltimore Colts.  You can see how the ring has evolved to incorporate the team logo and gemstones with a center diamond.

Super Bowl X - Pittsburgh Steelers

Super Bowl X – Pittsburgh Steelers

The Super Bowl X championship ring features two center diamonds, replacing the gem logo that we saw in the previous image.  Still evolving but not all that different or flashy from the previous five years.

Super Bowl XV - Oakland Raiders

Super Bowl XV – Oakland Raiders

We really start seeing a difference in design and added embellishments with the Super Bowl XV championship ring.  This ring keeps two center diamonds but adds several other lustrous diamonds surrounding the two center stones.

 

Super Bowl XX - Chicago Bears

Super Bowl XX – Chicago Bears

This ring from Super Bowl XX is truly breathtaking! The entire center of the ring, complete with logo, is encrusted in diamonds. The ring also features yellow gold which had previously gone out of style but then made a comeback, it really helps draw the eye to the gorgeous, diamond center.

Super Bowl XXV - New York Giants

Super Bowl XXV – New York Giants

This is the beautiful, Super Bowl XXV championship ring that was auctioned off in 2012 for $231,601 as discussed earlier. This ring is even more impressive than the previous as the gold is much brighter, and rather than several very small diamonds, this ring features several larger, gorgeous diamonds.

Super Bowl XXX - Dallas Cowboys

Super Bowl XXX – Dallas Cowboys

In true Texas style, this ring is big and attention-grabbing! We would expect nothing less from Dallas than a gorgeous, center star made of diamonds. Following years have big shoes to fill after this ring was released.

Super Bowl XXXV - Baltimore Ravens

Super Bowl XXXV – Baltimore Ravens

Truly unique, this ring incorporates yellow diamonds as well as white diamonds within the logo, and a ruby gemstone as the eye of the Raven.  This ring is really breathtaking and truly made for a Baltimore champion to wear with pride.

Super Bowl XL - Pittsburgh Steelers

Super Bowl XL – Pittsburgh Steelers

This picture is perfect because it allows you to see just how big these rings are.  This ring takes up almost half a finger of a pro NFL player. Covered in diamonds, gold and an impressive center logo, this ring commands attention.

Super Bowl XLV - Green Bay Packers

Super Bowl XLV – Green Bay Packers

And finally, coming full circle from where we started, is the Green Bay Packers championship ring from Super Bowl XLV.  Quite the difference from their initial ring won in 1967. This ring is essentially all diamonds as you can tell from the picture. With a huge logo in the center, also made out of diamonds, it is clear that the championship rings have come along way and how seriously they are taken within the NFL.

So there we have it – the evolution of the Super Bowl ring from Super Bowl I to Super Bowl XLV.

Stay tuned this Sunday for Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks. Good luck to both teams and may your Super Bowl championship rings continue to grow and evolve into the years to come. We can’t wait to see how the ring for this year’s champions turn out!

Facebook Favorites – January 2015

By: Amanda L. Colborn

With January coming to an end, we wanted to take a moment to recognize some of the awesome engagement we have received on our American Gem Society Facebook page.

January was one of our best months yet and features images from members including: Ritani, Forevermark, Steven Kretchmer Design, Omi Privé, Simon G. Jewelry and many more!

Of the posts that were displayed in January, the following five received the top engagement, which includes likes, shares and comments:

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First up, we have gorgeous ring from Simon G. Jewelry.  This ring features a huge emerald cut stone, set in silver and surrounded by a halo of white diamonds.  This post really resonated with our audience, not just because of the jewelry but the awesome details surrounding the piece that accentuate it’s beauty perfectly.  We love this picture and that beautiful emerald ring!

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Emeralds were popular this month because coming in at number four, is a stunning emerald ring from Molina Fine Jewelers.  This big, bold and beautiful ring features a square cut emerald.  The setting is unique, a yellow gold claw prong setting which helps draw the eye to the center stone. The diamond-encrusted silver band adds the perfect touch to really make this ring a show stopper!

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Number three is a huge and amazing blue topaz ring from Goshwara.  If you love blue topaz, or you’re born in December — then this is the ring for you!  A giant stone, surrounded by sparkling diamonds making this ring an eye-catching embellishment to any outfit.  Our Facebook audience always responds well to large gemstones, and we can tell by the engagement that we hit the nail on the head with this image.

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Multiple designs often do well on our Facebook page and these beauties from Steven Kretchmer Design were no exception. These designs are part of Steven Kretchmer’s Tension-Set™ Collection and are unique because it literally appears as if the stone is just suspended in the ring.  This gives you a 360 degree view of the entire stone, so greater detail while allowing you to really appreciate every aspect of the gorgeous gem.

Forevermark

 

Last and certainly not least, we found our winner for January in Forevermark. The fancy yellow diamond rings are each completely different, yet totally and equally beautiful. Ranging from no halo to a double halo, it is impossible to miss the level of detail and thought that goes behind each of these incredible designs.  Our audience loved commenting on this image and pointing out their favorite. To be honest, we couldn’t pick just one to love!

And there we have it, your January 2015 Facebook Favorites! Tell us which of these YOU like best!