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.

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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.

 

Your Local Jeweler—a Family Tradition

By Donna Jolly, RJ
American Gem Society

It always makes the staff at the American Gem Society proud to see a member featured in the media. This article in Florida Today  especially struck a chord, though. It’s an interview with AGS Member, Genna Jewelers. The owners are Peter & Kateri Genna, who have two locations: one in Vierra and the other in Palm Bay. Peter is a CGA with the American Gem Society. What we loved about their interview, in particular, is that the Genna’s are finding that their clients’ children, many of whom are now grown, are coming to them for jewelry. They have done such a successful job of building trust with their client base that it is only natural that their clients’ kids view them as their jeweler, too.

Many members of the American Gem Society are second, third (and in the case of the Genna’s) fourth generation jewelers. They have built their business on tradition, family and building a strong reputation. Their efforts are paying off and the family jeweler is becoming just that: a business for the entire family. Just like the ice cream shop you visited with your parents when you were a kid, and now take your children. (Except the “Ice” part is more expensive and doesn’t melt.)

The reporter also asked the Genna’s for some business advice, and we had to smile at their answer: “Become the most educated service provider in your field.”

Spoken like  a true AGS member! To find your own version of Genna Jewelers in your area, visit Find A Jeweler.

5 Do’s and Don’ts of Spring Cleaning Your Jewelry

By Kelsey McElrath, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company

Does spring give you a sudden urge to clean everything – including your jewelry? Before you reach for the toothpaste or chemical-laden jewelry cleaner, check out Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company’s do’s and don’ts to make sure your DIY cleaning isn’t causing potential risk to your treasured jewelry pieces.

  • DO read the labels on jewelry cleaning supplies. Some chemicals can be damaging to certain metals and gemstones.
  • DO use warm water, mild dish soap and a soft bristle toothbrush to get in hard-to-reach areas.
  • DO visit your jeweler at least once a year for a professional cleaning and inspection to restore the brilliance to your jewelry and ensure that it’s in good condition.
  • DON’T clean your jewelry with toothpaste. The abrasives in toothpaste can scratch your stones and bands.
  • DON’T clean your jewelry over the sink or anywhere there is an open drain.

 

A sparkling, clean ring from Steve Padis Jewelry!

A sparkling, clean ring from Steve Padis Jewelry!

 

The only thing better than knowing your jewelry sparkles is to know it’s protected!
Keep your jewelry safe no matter the season by protecting it with Jewelers Mutual’s jewelry insurance. Have peace of mind in knowing that your jewelry is covered against loss, theft, damaged and mysterious disappearance (or unexplained loss) wherever you go, worldwide.*

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

Jewelry and the Colors of Spring!

By Amanda L Colborn

We’re finally reaching the threshold of spring! (Seriously…it really took its sweet time getting here.)

And in celebration of spring, we wanted to share with you the latest style and color trends of the season, so when you hit the beach — you’ll be the hottest one there!

Pantone recently released their Spring 2015 color scheme.  The Spring 2015 palette includes ten colors for the season in varying shades and hues.

Pantone says, “This season there is a move toward the cooler and softer side of the color spectrum. An eclectic, ethereal mix of understated brights, pale pastels and nature-like neutrals take center stage as designers draw from daydreams of simpler times. Remembrances of retro delights, folkloric and floral art, and the magical worlds of tropical landscapes restore a sense of well-being as we head into warmer months.”

We’d like to show you how these particular colors can pair with some really fine and luxurious jewelry options, let’s jump right in!

First up is Aquamarine, perfectly fitting as it is also the birthstone of March! A truly calming gemstone, we’re featuring this beautiful pendant from jeweler, Wimmer’s Diamonds.

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Up next, a bright and beachy hue: Scuba Blue.  Scuba Blue pairs perfectly with this beautiful zircon and diamond ring from Suna Bros.

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Next is Lucite Green, a happy and sea foamy green color.  Lucite pairs perfectly with a mint tourmaline ring from Erica Courtney Jewelry.

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There is nothing more calming and comforting than a Classic Blue hue, reminiscent of the ocean and a dream getaway.  This color pairs perfectly with a stunning sapphire ring from Jack Lewis Jewelers.

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The Pantone color, Toasted Almond, reminds us more of rose gold than anything.  It is subdued but provides a comforting warmth, it also goes with just about everything! This morganite and rose gold ring from Yael Designs suits Toasted Almond perfectly!

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What would spring be without a cheery pink for Easter? Pink is effortlessly classic and fun, it pairs perfectly with the pink morganite found in these earrings from AG Gems!

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Next we have the Pantone color, Tangerine.  Tangerine looks just like an orange dreamsicle and it’s making us anxious for summer! Tangerine pairs perfectly with citrine, just like these earrings from Parlé Jewelry Design. Just make sure no one tries to eat them!

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epf088c22ciSunny and sweet are two fitting words to describe both custard itself and the beautiful Pantone color, Custard. Bright and cheery and perfect for this time of year, Custard is the color of beautiful yellow diamonds. The yellow diamonds in these rings from Long’s Jewelers are perfectly fitting!

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Pantone’s Color of the Year also made their spring color list, not that we mind, Marsala is a gorgeous and spicy color.  Reminding us of a night out on the town, grab your garnets because Marsala pairs perfectly!  Speaking of nights out, you’ll need a gorgeous cocktail ring like this from Omi Privé to make your night complete.

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Lastly, we have Pantone’s Glacier Gray.  “Gray for spring,” you say?  What is so great about Glacier Gray is that it’s a neutral that will complement and enhance any of the previous colors you pair with it.  Just like beautiful colorless diamonds which go with everything and make colored gems pop! Just look how well this Hearts on Fire ring, featuring colorless diamonds, enhances the Classic Blue of this woman’s shirt — stunning!

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And there we have the colors of Spring 2015 brought to you by Pantone, as well as it’s best jewelry for coordinating brought to you by all of us at the American Gem Society.  Stay warm out there and know that spring and all of its fabulous fashion trends are right around the corner. Better get shopping!

 

 

 

March birthstone: Aquamarine

By Amanda L Colborn

Aquamarine

The name aquamarine is derived from the Latin word aqua, meaning water, and marina, meaning the sea.  This gemstone was believed to protect sailors, as well as to guarantee a safe voyage.

Aquamarine and diamond ring from Mitchener-Farrand Jewelers.

Aquamarine and diamond ring from Mitchener-Farrand Jewelers.

The serene color of aquamarine is said to cool the temper, allowing the wearer to remain calm and levelheaded.  Its pale, cool color beautifully complements spring and summer wardrobes.

Aquamarine ring in yellow gold from Maertens Fine Jewelry & Gifts.

Aquamarine ring in yellow gold from Maertens Fine Jewelry & Gifts.

Aquamarine is most often light in tone and ranges from greenish blue to blue-green; the color usually is more intense in larger stones.  This gemstone is mined mainly in Brazil, but also is found in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique.

Aquamarine cocktail ring from Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry.

Aquamarine cocktail ring from Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry.

Read more about all birthstones here, and to find an AGS jeweler who can show you the gemstone in a variety of settings, click here. We’ll also be continuing the conversation about Aquamarine throughout March, so join us on Facebook!