Celebrating September with Sparkling Sapphire

We’re getting a jump-start on September!

September’s birthstone is the sapphire, a beautiful gemstone that has been popular since the Middle Ages. According to folklore, sapphires bring wearers good fortune, spiritual insight and provide them with protection from envy and harm.

Blue sapphires range from very light to very dark greenish or violet-blue, as well as various shades of pure blue.  The most prized colors are a medium to medium dark blue or slightly violet-blue.  Sapphire is a variety of the gem species, corundum, and occurs in all colors of the rainbow.  Pink, purple, green, orange, or yellow corundum are known by their color (e.g. pink sapphire, green sapphire).  Ruby is the red variety of corundum.

Sapphires are one of our favorite gems here at the American Gem Society. They’re versatile and can be worn with just about anything, but strike a beautiful chord when paired with diamonds and white gold. While there are many shades of sapphires to choose from, the gem’s radiance never fails to attract attention. Here are the top three reasons why we’re in love with sapphires:

Blue Sapphire necklace and ring from Omi Privé

Blue Sapphire necklace and ring from Omi Privé

  1. They’re always in fashion. From blue to pink, sapphires of all colors are stylish staples of luxury. Sapphires hit the Hollywood stage every year, making regular appearances on the red carpet and in the collections of well-known celebrities and even royalty.
  2. They complement fall attire. Sapphire jewelry adds a touch of color to fall fashion apparel. The gem accents other fall colors really well, especially gray, red, and orange hues. Wearing a sapphire makes a statement and adds a vivacious aura that brings warmth to the crowd. They wouldn’t be called the September birthstone if they didn’t.
  3. They’re durable and stable. Sapphires (and Rubies) are second only to diamonds on the Mohs hardness scale, ranking at a solid 9 compared to a diamond’s 10. This hardness allows sapphires to be worn every day without the constant worry about them scratching or becoming damaged. Though it’s important to take care of your gemstones, sapphires can withstand chipping and breaking while being knocked or bumped. They’re also able to handle heat, light, and chemicals really well, bringing needed peace-of-mind to their wearers.
Blue and Pink Sapphire earrings from AG Gems

Blue and Pink Sapphire earrings from AG Gems

We’re excited to see what kinds of sapphires our members share with us this year! For more information about sapphires, please visit the American Gem Society website. Happy September!

Your End-of-Summer Jewelry To-Do List

By Chelsea Drusch, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company

Taking great care of your jewelry during the summer can be a frustrating task. Going swimming? Take that beautiful new engagement ring off. Sunbathing? Sans sparklers, please. Jet-setting on a faraway vacation? Maybe that favorite heirloom necklace should stay behind for safekeeping.

The bad news: Summer is fading off into the sunset. The good news: It’s time for your bling to take center stage again.

We have some end-of-summer jewelry cleaning and storage tips to refresh your pretties for those holiday parties that are (believe it or not) just around the corner!

Rings by Suna Bros.

Rings by Suna Bros.

Bring back the sparkle. 
Wipe down your frequently worn items with a clean, soft, slightly damp cloth. For those more frequently worn items, visit your jeweler for a professional cleaning. You’ll leave with jewelry that sparkles like new!
Ensure safekeeping.
Keep your jewelry in a clean, dry place such as a fabric-lined jewelry case, or in a box with compartments and dividers to prevent pieces from scratching each other.
Inspect for damage.
Take your jewelry to a reputable jeweler and have it inspected for loose stones, broken or worn prongs, weak clasps and other potential damages that may not be visible to the naked eye.

110241342648422Reappraise the value.
By choosing an AGS-certified Appraiser, you can rest assured that you’re working with a professional who has been trained and certified. They’ll take the time to thoroughly inspect your jewelry and get you a number that’s as accurate as possible.

Bring your last insurance evaluation or appraisal to your jeweler for a review of the values. Don’t forget to tell us if your values have changed so we can adjust your coverage!

Refresh your collection.
Bring out those special jewelry items reserved for fall/winter and the holidays. Borrow a stunner from a friend for a special occasion. Treat yourself to a brand new sparkler (with insurance, of course). Adding jewelry to your policy is quick and easy either online or by phone at 888-884-2424.*

Follow these guidelines and you’ll keep your beautiful jewelry looking good as new!

What are some jewelry care tips and tricks you’ve learned?

*Adding jewelry to your policy requires a copy of a recent detailed receipt, appraisal, or evaluation with a current value for the item(s) you would like to add to your policy.

Have Fun and Test Your Jewelry Knowledge on AGS.org!

By Amanda L. Colborn

The American Gem Society has exciting news for all of our website visitors!

We are now offering a set of timed quizzes so that you can test and grow your jewelry knowledge in a fun and exciting way.

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Test your yourself and your friends on everything from the 4 Cs of Diamonds to Jewelry in Pop Culture.

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Each quiz is 10 questions long and each question is timed for 25 seconds.

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(Beware: They are surprisingly difficult!)

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After each quiz is completed, you can view your results, take another quiz (or retake the same quiz if you want to improve your score), and share it on your personal Facebook page as a challenge your friends.

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Check out all the quizzes here! You’ll be a #JewelryGenius in no time!

 

August is Romance Awareness Month!

By Amanda L. Colborn

Even though the American Gem Society is a professional organization dedicated to credentialing jewelers and consumer protection, we understand that one of the biggest reasons people give jewelry is to show their love. And we love…..well, love! So this blog is a celebration of romance, and lucky for us, August is National Romance month.  So we thought we’d take the opportunity to celebrate Romance Awareness Month in all its glory, and hopefully inspire you to remember to add some romance to your life as well.

Ring by Hearts on Fire

Ring by Hearts on Fire

The online dating site, Zoosk, conducted an annual Romance Awareness Survey. From the survey results, it should come as no surprise that 81% of women and 69% of men surveyed, believe that women are more romantic than men.

What MAY surprise you is that Valentine’s Day, at 19%, ranked lower on the romance scale than an anniversary, at 57%, and even a first date which came in at 24%. First impressions really do go a long way!

Jewelry from Supreme Jewelry

Jewelry from Supreme Jewelry

For the singles out there, you’re not alone. Most single people are completely underwhelmed by the amount of romance in their life. 73% of single men and 80% of single women surveyed say they are were unhappy in the romance department.

But couples aren’t completely satisfied either — see! The grass isn’t always greener as 60% of men and 66% of women say that they would not stay in a relationship with a partner they deemed was unromantic or not romantic enough.

So how can you add more romance to your life?

Well, for singles, the good news is that a lot of single people are looking for more romance in their lives. So if you’re considering approaching the lady checking out the produce at the grocery store, or standing behind you in line at the bank; smile and confidently say, “Hello.” Believe it or not, you feel more confident smiling (even on the telephone) than you do with a straight face. You’ll come across happier and don’t be surprised if a few other heads turn as well.

And don’t forget that best first date impression!

For couples, adding a little romance to your everyday life can actually be quite easy.

Romance experts suggest ideas as simple as:

  • A promise ring or other piece of fine jewelry, personalized for your partner
  • A simple compliment goes a long way. Tell your partner something you’ve secretly been admiring about them for a long time.
  • Send a romantic text in the middle of their mundane work day.
  • Plan a staycation! A weekend at home or in a local Bed & Breakfast, just the two of you.
  • Write a letter. Something so old-fashioned and simple can have lasting effects! For inspiration, check out some famous love letters written by well-known idols, click here.
Earrings by Ritani

Earrings by Ritani

Conclusively, Romance Awareness month offers you an opportunity to break from your romance rut and it’s a helpful reminder to show the one you love (even if it’s yourself!) how important adding a little romance to your life can be. Enjoy!

 

Happy Birthday August!

By Amanda L Colborn

With tomorrow marking the first day of August, we’d like to wish all the August babies a happy birthday! You have two special birthstones associated with the month of August. Both of which are not only unique and beautiful, but very representative of power and courage. Read on to learn more about the birthstones of August, peridot and sardonyx.

Peridot

Peridot is said to host magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares and to bring the wearer power, influence, and a wonderful year.

As peridot is a gemstone that forms deep inside the Earth and brought to the surface by volcanoes, in Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes.

Today, most of the peridot supply comes from Arizona; other sources are China, Myanmar, and Pakistan.  This gemstone comes in several color variations ranging from yellowish green to brown, but most consumers are attracted to the bright lime greens and olive greens.  Peridot, in smaller sizes, often is used in beaded necklaces and bracelets.

14K yellow gold, peridot and diamond earrings from Parlé Jewelry Design

14K yellow gold, peridot and diamond earrings from Parlé Jewelry Design

Sardonyx

Sardonyx is a form of onyx and is recognized by its layers of reddish brown and white banding.

It was popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans who carried into battle talismans of sardonyx engraved with images of heroes such as Mars or Hercules, believing that this would bring courage and victory.

Because of its attractive banding, sardonyx has long been used to fashion cameos (carved raised figures) and intaglios (the reverse of cameos).  This gemstone is found throughout the world.  The most attractive specimens are found in India, but material also is mined in Czechoslovakia, Brazil, Uruguay, Germany, and in the United States.

14k yellow gold filigree ring circa 1950 from Stanley Jewelers Gemologist, Little Rock, AK

14k yellow gold filigree ring circa 1950 from Stanley Jewelers Gemologist; Little Rock, AR

To all of those celebrating birthdays in August, we wish you a very happy birthday. And to everyone, we wish you a very happy August. If you’d like to learn more about any month’s birthstone, click here.

 

When Not to Wear Your Wedding Ring This Summer.

By Chelsea Drusch, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company

Heading into the dog days of summer, you’ve likely wondered if any of your favorite summer activities have been affecting your favorite jewelry pieces.

So before you jump in the pool, slather on sunscreen or head to the beach, it never hurts to know where dangers can lurk. If you’re not careful, summer can definitely take a toll on your jewelry.

Don't let the elements affect your precious jewelry pieces. Ring by Hearts On Fire.

Don’t let the elements affect your precious jewelry pieces. Ring by Hearts On Fire.

In honor of rings resting on the ocean floor, bracelets ruined from gardening and gems fallen victim to a wicked game of beach volleyball, here are six situations when not to wear your wedding ring, or any other fine jewelry you’d hate to damage or lose.

  • While swimming or exercising. Salt water and chlorine can be damaging, especially for sterling silver jewelry. And sweat can make sterling silver jewelry tarnish quickly.
  • While applying sun block or bug spray. Substances like lotion can get stuck in crevices of chains and prongs, making it hard to clean out. Plus these products form a film on your jewelry, making it appear dull and dingy.
  • In direct sunlight. The sun can bleach certain materials, especially natural elements and some plastics.
  • In cold water. The cold temperature of the water in pools, oceans, lakes and rivers causes your finger size to shrink temporarily. When this happens, rings can easily slip off the finger without your knowledge, until it’s too late.
  • While using a hot tub or swimming pool. Chlorine can damage and discolor metals such as gold and platinum, and can slowly erode the finish and polish of gemstones.
  • While gardening. Dirt and small rocks are abrasive to jewelry. If not cleaned right away, jewelry can be permanently damaged. Beware the dangers of gardening gloves, too.

As always, it’s good practice to bring your jewelry in to your jeweler for regular inspections and cleanings. Your pieces will be in that much better condition to withstand any summer activities.

The only surefire way to guarantee not losing or damaging your jewelry this summer is to simply take it off and leave it at home, securely stored of course!

To find an American Gem Society credentialed appraiser, click here.

Top 5 Facebook Favorites!

By Amanda L. Colborn

It’s been awhile since the American Gem Society has posted some of our social media favorites, so I thought I’d catch you up on what’s going on with our AGS Facebook page.  The social media favorites are really determined by our followers. These top 5 pieces have garnered the most likes and engagement on Facebook and so that’s how I determined what made this week’s blog.

And let me just say, our followers have exquisite taste!

Here’s a look at what’s been trending on our page this season:

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  1. First up is this breathtaking Fire Opal ring from Yael Designs. This ring was posted prior to the JCK Luxury show in Las Vegas, where it made it’s big (literally, it’s big) debut. It didn’t surprise me in the least that this fantastic ring made the top of the social media favorites list, it’s absolutely stunning!
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  2. Next up, we have a sparkling diamond ring from Simon G. which was posted by Kassab Jewelers. What really makes this ring catch your eye, is how the small halo of pink diamonds really amplifies the look of the center stone. The three-strand setting, each ornamented with white diamonds, adds another element of intricate detail to this exquisite ring
  3. 11265404_452514378245473_8971999350149317307_nSuna Bros. called this their ‘Zircon Zinger,’ and honestly, I can’t get enough of that name. The beautiful blue of this stone is enough already, but then they added diamonds to the setting and band which made it absolute perfection!
  4. 1836824_889521897735743_308284906759892129_oFrom LeVian comes the Blueberry Tanzanite® ring (you all really like your rings, huh?).  Who could blame you? We couldn’t resist sharing this piece with you! The color differentiation of the luxurious Tanzanite and diamonds along with the rose gold setting, really make this ring a special treat.11412343_10152710408366116_7172675216593864120_n
  5. While we’re on the topic of luxurious, our next favorite fits the bill perfectly! This Fancy Yellow Kotlar Cushion from Harry Kotlar is true luxury at it’s finest! The Kotlar Cushion is specifically cut to maximize the diamond’s fire. We recommend you not wear this ring while driving, as it is sure to blind you and other drivers. :)

There you have the top 5 trends from our AGS Facebook page. Be sure to like our page for more beautiful pieces from our AGS members. If you like seeing a re-cap of our Facebook and other social media trends in the blog, please comment and let us know!

Finally, there is one other post that our Facebook audience really loved.  It isn’t a jewelry piece so I did not include it in the top 5, but it definitely deserves an honorable mention. And so, to finalize this week’s blog, I leave you with this trending quote. Have a great weekend everyone!

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