Graduation Gifts!

By Amanda L Colborn

Time sure does fly, right? Perhaps you’ve been dreading it…or maybe you’re looking forward to this new chapter of your loved ones’ life. Whether you’re ready for it or not, your favorite graduate is going to be walking down that aisle and accepting that diploma or degree that they’ve worked so hard for.

Witnessing this significant step in your loved ones’ life will likely bring some tears to your eyes. But have no fear, you can return the favor when you gift them an amazing piece of jewelry, as a congratulatory token of your love, during this most momentous of times.

This is the time to celebrate all the hours, days, weeks, and years of time they dedicated to achieving such an important goal. And that warrants a really spectacular gift!

But where to start?

First off, if you are considering gifting an amazing piece of jewelry to your graduate, please do so from an AGS-credentialed jeweler. You can find a local AGS-credentialed jeweler here.  Find a jeweler near you and give them a call, they’ll be happy to help you find that perfect piece!

Another option is to look online.  For example; AGS members, Tiffany & Co. and Hearts on Fire, both have sections of their website completely dedicated to Graduation Gifts for both Him and Her.

Whichever avenue you choose, try to think outside the box! Consider who you are shopping for, what they like, what they care about, and what their future goals are. Then tailor your gift to their personality specifically.

Diamond stud earrings for her from Ritani

Diamond stud earrings for her from Ritani

Men's cufflinks from John Hardy

Men’s cufflinks from John Hardy

And then stand back.

There will be waterworks. But don’t worry, they will definitely be the good kind!

 

 

Go Retro!

By Amanda L. Colborn

When it comes to jewelry, more and more people are looking to the past for their present jewelry inspiration.  It’s not just about style and fashion, estate jewelry has benefits to both your wallet AND the environment!

But first, what is “estate” jewelry?

Estate jewelry is, in the simplest of terms, jewelry that has been previously owned by someone else.

Is it the same as “antique” jewelry?

Yes and no, estate jewelry is not considered an antique until it is at least 100 years old, according to JewelleryMonthly.com.

So, why would estate jewelry be something for me?

There are several benefits to acquiring previously owned jewelry.  A big reason being that they are back in fashion right now. Vintage has never been more popular, making it easier than ever to find interesting pieces of estate jewelry. People love pieces that hold a story, and the best thing about estate jewelry is that they all have some sort of story, which makes shopping for them that much more fun!

Estate Watch from McTeigue

Estate Watch from McTeigue

Another reason to look into owning an estate piece, most of them are now one-of-a-kind.  Perhaps you have looked into getting a custom piece of jewelry made and were overwhelmed by how much that can cost. Well, look into estate pieces! They are usually much more cost-effective and the likelihood of anyone else having the same matching piece is slim to none.

Estate Pendant Necklace from McTeigue

Estate Pendant Necklace from McTeigue

The best and most important reasons for choosing a piece of estate jewelry is that they are environmentally-friendly and ethical.  Like all new products in our world today, it takes resources to produce and manufacture pieces of fine jewelry. When you buy a piece of estate jewelry, you can rest assured knowing that your purchase has both a beautiful, rich history and you have recycled a piece of jewelry at no cost to our environment.

When you shop with an AGS-credentialed jeweler, you’re already taking the first step towards a jewelry purchase backed with the highest standard of ethics in the industry.  When you purchase a piece of estate jewelry from an AGS-credentialed jeweler, you know you are getting a top-quality piece of jewelry from a jeweler who cares about you, your wallet, and ensuring the overall high standards of ethical behavior within the jewelry industry.

Estate Bracelet from McTeigue

Estate Bracelet from McTeigue

As you can see, there are so many benefits to going retro when it comes to your next jewelry purchase. Take into consideration the history, time period, cost-effectiveness, and environmental & ethical impacts when you consider purchasing your first or next piece of fine jewelry.  Talk to your jeweler and see what your options are. Or, find the right jeweler for you here.  And then go tell your friends to look into estate jewelry as well, so you can share the stories of your beautiful new/old vintage creations!

 

Jewelry designs perfect for Cinco de Mayo!

By Amanda L. Colborn

Are you the kind of person who likes to express your holiday spirit with jewelry? Does the jewelry you wear often reflect the mood and occasion of a party you’re attending?  If you answer yes to either of these, then maybe you’ve been thinking about how you’re going to capture the Cinco de Mayo spirit with your jewelry.

Never fear! The American Gem Society is here to help you accessorize so you can walk into the party not having to wonder, “Is that salsa hotter than my outfit?”

We’ve taken the colors of Cinco de Mayo and paired them with some beautiful jewelry pieces that are ¡Muy Caliente! 

 

First off, what would a fiesta be without a perfect bowl of pico de gallo?

pico de gallo

And, if you didn’t think we could bring out the gorgeous essence of this dish into a piece of jewelry, well, just check out this stunning opal from Spark Creations.

Ring from Spark Creations

Ring from Spark Creations

 

Speaking of food, Cinco de Mayo would be nothing without the traditional chilies of Mexico.

hot-peppers

It’s a rainbow of amazing color and flavor, just like these two stunning rings from Yael Designs.

Ring from Yael Designs

Ring from Yael Designs

yael designs 3

Ring from Yael Designs

 

Now that we have the food portion covered, let’s bring in the drinks! The perfect drink of Cinco de Mayo you ask? A frosty margarita of course!

margarita

Show of your margarita-matched peridot ring from Parlé Jewelry Designs and leave your friends in awe!

Ring from Parlé Jewelry Designs

Ring from Parlé Jewelry Designs

 

Ok, food and drink? Check!

Now onto that outfit of yours. We’re assuming you already have a sombrero, so you’ll need to pull that from your closet and brush off the dust from last year.

sombrero

Many sombreros have a striped fabric trim, like the one pictured here, which inspires us to reach for our most stackable jewelry items.

Bracelets from Hurdles Jewelry

Bracelets from Hurdle’s Jewelry

Rings from Erica Courtney Jewelry

Rings from Erica Courtney Jewelry

 

Your headgear is all set, now onto the rest of your outfit. A perfect, traditional Mexican poncho is  essential for the festive and fun look of Cinco de Mayo.

poncho

Though not all ponchos are alike and they vary in all types of color schemes; we wanted to show you an example of how we pulled colors from this poncho and paired it perfectly with a piece of fine jewelry.

Ring from Suna Bros.

Ring from Suna Bros.

 

And last but certainly not least, it’s time to party! Ready to break that piñata?

pinata

In the spirit of the perfect piñata, we found the perfect pair of earrings to match. Just make sure the kids remember to go after the piñata and not your ears!

Earrings from Yael Designs

Earrings from Yael Designs

Now that we’ve covered all the bases for the perfect Cinco de Mayo celebration, we hope we have inspired you (and your outfit) to find the fun in accessorizing! Have a happy and safe holiday!

 

 

 

Happy birthday May! We’re celebrating with Emeralds!

By Amanda L Colborn

As the birthstone for May, the emerald, a symbol of rebirth, is believed to grant the owner foresight, good fortune, and youth.

Emerald and diamond ring from Omi Privé

Emerald and diamond ring from Omi Privé

According to Almanac.com, “The emerald, was one of Cleopatra’s favorite gems. It has long been associated with fertility, rebirth, and love. Ancient Romans went so far as to dedicate this stone to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Today, it is thought that emeralds signify wisdom, growth, and patience.”

Emerald and diamond ring from Suna Bros.

Emerald and diamond ring from Suna Bros.

Emerald, derived from the word smaragdus, meaning “green” in Greek, was mined in Egypt as early as 330 B.C. Today, most of the world’s emeralds are mined in Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan, and Zambia. The availability of high-quality emerald is limited; consequently, treatments to improve clarity are performed regularly.

Emerald earrings from AG Gems

Emerald earrings from AG Gems

So enjoy your birthday, May babies! And enjoy the rich and beautiful Emerald gemstone all year round!

 

Shedding Light on a Diamond’s Quality

By Donna Jolly, RJ

Rolls Royce. Hermes. Cartier. Luxury brands that evoke the best of the best, right? When thinking of gemstones, diamonds, like these brands, are on the high-end of the luxury food chain. They are a girl’s best friends. They are the ultimate symbol of status. . . and of love. They are Forever.

With something so precious and coveted, it stands to reason then that when you purchase a diamond, it has been thoroughly analyzed before it hits the store so that you understand its level of quality. There are several diamond grading labs that can do this, but before you buy a diamond with one of those lab’s report, it’s important you learn about the lab. In 1996, the American Gem Society created AGS Laboratories because no other labs were founded on the premise of consumer  protection. None. They were all created to service the trade.

From its inception, AGS Laboratories has taken its mission seriously. It’s devoted much of its resources to not just grading diamonds, but researching them to really understand how this beautiful gem can be its most beautiful. Because of this research, AGS Laboratories uses a scientifically vetted cut-grading system, based on optical physics and proprietary “ray-tracing” software. This three-dimensional analysis traces how light performs in a diamond. That methodology is the cornerstone of the Lab’s Platinum Diamond Quality® Document. No other report is more thorough or reviews as much detail on a diamond’s light performance.

Platinum_2013-rev-sample_Page_1

The report covers all the 4Cs with great emphasis on Cut—the C that contributes most to a diamond’s brightness. Each document has a “Light Performance” map unique to each diamond, showing you where the diamond has its most brightness versus light “leakage.” The less light that leaks out of a diamond, of course, the brighter it will be.

So what exactly is light performance and why is it important? The diamond’s cut—the layout of its facets—determines the light returned to the surface (what most refer to as Sparkle). The better and more exacting a diamond is cut, the more light is returned from the top of the diamond (known as its crown). If a diamond has a cut that is too shallow, light will leak out of the bottom. It the cut is too deep, light escapes out of the sides.

AGS Labs performance-based cut grade is available for Round Brilliant, Princess, Oval, Emerald and Cushion-shaped diamonds.

 Ask your Jeweler to show you a diamond with an AGS Laboratories Platinum Diamond Quality® Document. Better yet, ask them to show you the diamond underneath an ASET, a tool created by AGS Laboratories to illustrate light within the diamond. You’ll never look at this rare gem in the same way again!

6 Tips for Traveling with Jewelry

By Kelsey McElrath, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company

No one wants to worry about having precious jewelry stolen, damaged, lost or go mysteriously missing while traveling. Nothing could ruin a vacation more – especially if the jewelry is unable to be replaced. We want you to enjoy your getaway, worry-free! Read on and get ready to travel with these tips from Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company.

 

Travel to see, not be seen. 

If you’re wearing a valuable ring with a large gemstone or diamond, consider turning it over so it looks like a wedding band drawing less attention to you. Or wear your ring on a necklace chain and tuck under your shirt.

A stunning engagement ring from Hufford's Jewelry.

A stunning engagement ring from Hufford’s Jewelry.

 

Carry it on.

Consider using protective casing during transport and never place jewelry in checked luggage. Always wear it or place it in your carry-on.

 

Insure your jewelry.

Before jetting out, insure your fine jewelry with Jewelers Mutual’s worldwide, repair and replacement coverage. A policy from Jewelers Mutual provides protection against loss, theft, damage and mysterious disappearance (or unexplained loss).*

 

Keep it separated.

Store jewelry in separate compartments to prevent scratches to precious metals and gemstones or tangling of necklace chains.

Luxury Brand Group prepares for travel by individually packing items in their own bag.

Luxury Brand Group prepares for travel by individually packing items in their own bag.

 

Use the hotel safe.

Never keep jewelry out in the open on a night stand or bathroom counter in your hotel room when you’re not there. Use the safe when not wearing it. No good place to lock the jewelry away? Keep it on you, either wearing it or in the purse you plan to carry.

 

What if you find a beautiful piece of jewelry while traveling?

Members with existing policies from Jewelers Mutual® enjoy up to 30 days of automatic coverage (subject to a limit of $10,000) on any newly acquired jewelry.

 

Happy travels to all! Where is your favorite summer getaway?

 

* Coverage and pricing are subject to underwriting review and approval, and to policy terms and conditions.

Happy Birthday April! It’s your time to shine!

By Amanda L Colborn

At the American Gem Society and especially in AGS Laboratories, we look forward to April all year long!  With the diamond being April’s birthstone, it’s yet another opportunity to celebrate our favorite things: bright, shiny diamonds!

Don’t get us wrong, all other months and their birthstones are just as special! However, being part of an organization that offers you the highest quality diamond grading reports…we do have a special soft spot for diamonds.

A gorgeous 7 carat, cushion cut from Alson Jewelers.

A gorgeous 7 carat, cushion cut from Alson Jewelers.

History of the Diamond as the April Birthstone

Diamonds are a thing of beauty and the ultimate gift for a loved one. Thought to be one of the hardest substances on the globe, diamonds date back billions of years. The diamond is the traditional birthstone of April and holds significant meaning for those born in that month, thought to provide the wearer with better relationships and an increase in inner strength. Wearing diamonds is purported to bring other benefits such as balance, clarity and abundance.  It’s also symbolic of eternal love, and those fortunate to call April the month of their birth will enjoy the following history behind this rare gem.

Diamond engagement rings by Suna Bros.

Diamond engagement rings by Suna Bros.

Diamond Gemstones

Adopted from the Greek work “adamas,” meaning invincible, diamonds come in a wide range of colors such as black, blue, green, pink, red, purple, orange and yellow. The color is dependent upon the type of impurities that are present in the stone. Yellow stones have minuscule traces of nitrogen while blue ones contain boron.

A stunning pear shape diamond from Philip's Diamond Shop.

A stunning pear shape diamond from Philip’s Diamond Shop.

The History and Beliefs Surrounding the Diamond

As told through the Encarta, Sanskrit texts dating back before 400 B.C. found that people associated significant value and wonderment with crystals. There is also significant research that dates back to the 1330s showing diamond cutting in Venice. The diamond trading business flourished towards the 15th century with the opening of Eastern trade routes. Ancient theories touting the magical powers of diamonds were prevalent: some thought lightning bolts formed diamonds, while other theories asserted that diamonds were the tears of god.

Engagement rings by Ritani.

Engagement rings by Ritani.

The Healing Power of Diamonds

During the Middle Ages, diamonds were thought to hold healing powers and to cure ailments stemming from the pituitary gland and brain. By heating the crystal and taking it to bed, it was thought to draw out the harmful toxins that were crippling the body. It was believed that diamonds could also have an effect on an individual’s balance and clarity and could boost their energy when combined with other crystals like amethyst.

The diamond as the April gemstone has garnered the hearts of many and is the most coveted crystal to date. Deemed as the King of all birthstones, diamonds make the ideal choice for an April birthday gift. She’ll love you for it! Find a trusted diamond jeweler near you.