American Gem Society Blog

The American Gem Society is a non-profit trade association of fine jewelry professionals dedicated to consumer protection, education, ethics and integrity.

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Are Opals a Girl’s New Best Friend?

Cate Blanchett Oscars opal earrings

Opals have emerged as one of the big jewelry trends of 2014. Cate Blanchett’s stunning Chopard opal earrings received almost as much attention at the Academy Awards as her Oscar-winning performance. Her earrings demonstrated all the traits that are making opals so popular right now: they are lustrous, reflecting the fire of many colors. Blanchett explained her decision to don them for the Oscars, saying that opals are “must-haves” for Australians, as they are the country’s national gemstone. Opals are found in deposits around the world, but are most abundant in Australia, which produces 97 percent of the world’s opals.

As more women purchase opals, or pull vintage pieces from their mother’s or grandmother’s jewelry box, they probably do not know a lot about proper care and cleaning of the stone. Opals are delicate, requiring a gentle, non-ammoniated jewelry cleaning formula and tender care with a polishing cloth. In fact, the best way to clean opal jewelry is to dampen a polishing cloth with a gentle cleaner and just wipe the opals clean. This is especially true if the stones are glued into the piece, as they often are when used in doublets, triplets, brooches and even rings. It is not safe to soak such pieces in a jewelry cleaner, as the glue can come loose.

Kristie Nicolosi, President & CEO of The Kingswood Company, the world’s leading supplier of fine jewelry care products, shared some other information about opals.

“I attended the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show last year and learned something surprising about opals,” explained Nicolosi. “If you don’t store them properly, they can literally turn to dust!”

That’s right; while a diamond is forever, opals actually have a lifespan. Because they are composed of five to 10 percent water, opals will deteriorate over time as they dry out. As they dry, they turn milky, losing their beautiful layers of color, and may crack. Once they become too dry, one can try to add moisture back, but often they cannot be repaired. That is why it is very important to store them in cool, moist places, minimizing exposure to heat and dry environments.

It is pretty hot and dry down under, so Aussies like Ms. Blanchett must be extra careful.


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Social Media Standouts

This week has been another outstanding week on social media for the American Gem Society.  Our fans have been extremely engaged with our posts and there were a few that have really stood out.

First, this yellow diamond pendant from Armadani.  Our fans immediately fell in love with it, and rightfully so. It is stunning!


Then today, we posted this pink diamond ring from Supreme Jewelry. It has been an instant hit! It has racked up more likes and shares in just a few hours than other posts will get in a week. Obviously, it is a special piece.



These are just a couple of the pieces that we shared throughout this week.  Visit our Facebook page to see all of the amazing jewelry we have to share.  Also, while you’re there make sure you register to win a $2,500 gift certificate to an AGS Jeweler near you!

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Aquamarine: the Calming Blue

by Anna Samsonova, CGA
Ben Bridge Jeweler

The name says it all for the birthstone of March: Aqua. The word alone is relaxing.  Which is good, because the historical and substitute birthstone does not have as relaxing of a name: Bloodstone.

Aquamarine is usually a light blue stone, think of the clearest of beach waters that you can imagine. Smaller stones tend to stay on the lighter side of the spectrum, where as larger stones may yield a darker color. That slightly darker color, especially with a greenish tint, is quite sought after and has a greater value. Just as its birthstone neighbor Amethyst, it is quite a clear stone and makes for amazing large statement pieces.


Aquamarine–a tall drink of cool light blue.

The name also promises to calm your soul. It relaxes you in stressful situations and is great for couples and as an anniversary gift.

Bloodstone is usually used in fashion pieces as Turquoise would be. It is usually a dark green stone with red dots and veining on it. Although the name may throw you off, it is quite an interesting piece of Mother Earth.


Bloodstone. Beautiful, yet not as calming as Aquamarine!

The name also serves its purpose. Bloodstone is said to help with your vascular health, especially poisoning and diseases. It is also believed to energize you and rid you of bad feelings.

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Jewelry Pick of the Week

Our Facebook audience this week went nuts over this beauty from Tivon Fine Jewellery. It takes the gala ring to a whole new level! 18k white gold, diamonds, Tsavorite garnets and 20.13ct Colombian Emerald. It’s stunning—no wonder people “liked” it. What do you think? Drop us a note.


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Proposals Gone Wild

Fact: We are in the middle of Proposal Season. It starts at the beginning of February and runs through March 20th, which happens to be National Proposal Day.

The things you learn from blogs, right?

Being a non-profit in the jewelry industry, the American Gem Society has learned a thing or two from our members about marriage proposals. We watch their social media pages and see the stories they share from their own clients. Some proposals are romantic and heart-felt, some are silly, and sadly, sometimes a proposal will fail. It was the latter class of proposals where we felt we could help, which is why we decided to do our Perfect Proposal Toolkit.

And just to make it fun, we have a contest. One lucky winner will receive a $2,500 gift card to an American Gem Society jeweler in their area.

Already married, or have no prospects for love in sight (at the moment)? That’s okay. You can still enter. We all need jewelry!

We all also need a good laugh, so check out this video of a guy and his dog trying to come up with the best way to pop the question:

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February’s Birthstone: Amethyst

By Anna Samsonova, CGA, Ben Bridge Jewelers


Amethyst, ranging from a light to dark purple has been in popular use for centuries. Purple is often associated with royalty; notice how many people of power enjoy that deep, purple tone!  Amethyst was Catherine the Great’s favorite stone and can be found among the British Crown Jewels.


Amethyst is the purple variety of the Quartz species. It often has no imperfections, so it is very easy and appealing to make into large statement jewelry.



Amethyst grows in an amazing rock called a geode. Amethyst geodes come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes the geode is so beautiful that you might not want to cut it to make a faceted stone. Some are small and can be used as a paperweight, others are large and can be displayed as a piece of art or decoration. Amethyst geodes can be so big that they are twice as tall as you! Can you imagine how gorgeous that would be in your garden?



The name Amethyst comes from a Greek word that means “not drunken”, which is most likely where it’s healing properties come from.  Amethyst is said to be a sobering stone, healing all in the head. Whether you have a headache or are just in search of clarity, this is your stone.


February babies, you might have a shorter month, but you have gorgeous shades of Amethyst to choose as your birthstone. The lighter color also resemble this years Pantone Color of the Year! 


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Red Carpet Trends from the Golden Globes

Last night’s star-studded Golden Globes Awards was much anticipated by gossip columnists hungry to dish, Hollywood celebs vying for an award, and, of course, jewelry lovers who wanted to see some major sparkle. The Red Carpet show did not disappoint. Jewelry insiders today are buzzing about three trends spotted last evening: Yellow gold, art deco inspired jewelry and geometric designs.

In the hallways of the American Gem Society, here’s three stars we were talking about this morning; or to be more specific, we were talking about their jewelry:

Cate Blanchett wins our award for classiest look. The actress was nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for her role in Blue Jasmine; she won, and she also won our vote for her diamond sideways-set gold hoop earrings. The marquise-cut stones mimicked the lace of her dress; nice touch. In a town where the tendency is to go too big and too loud, she kept things classy and beautiful.

Cate Blanchett

Sofia Vergara turned heads as always, but had a little extra insurance to up the glam factor: A carved turquoise and diamond choker. It was a statement piece that stood out on a night where there were many statement pieces.

Sofia Vergara

Finally, Jennifer Lawrence, proved she’s not only got some good old-fashion American Hustle, she’s got just as much style. What’s not to love about these  platinum drop earrings with black spinel, onyx, black diamonds, jade, and coral? Not to mention the stunning bracelets and rings, all vintage numbers adding up to $2.5 million in value.

The 71st Golden Globe Awards - Press Room

The Golden Globes is great foreshadowing for the Oscars. Sure, it gives us a better clue as to who might win the coveted award, but more so, it shows us who can bring the shine to the Red Carpet pre-show.


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