Jewelry Buying Tips from the Pros

cropped-blogbanner-3.pngYou know it’s the holiday season when magazines and blogs run a “shopping tips” article. We thought, though, that you should hear advice from the people actually in the field who have learned a thing or two about best-buying practices: the jewelers. Of course, these are not just any retailers. They are American Gem Society credentialed jewelers.  Every day, they help their customers find the perfect piece of jewelry, whether it’s finding the right style or fitting the right budget—or both. Here is some solid advice straight from a few jewelers:

Catherine Fitzgibbon, CGA, from Coffin & Trout Fine Jewellers:  “Buyer beware when it comes to 80% off sales, just remember 80% off of what?  An overinflated retail price that is not realistic?

Also, your buying experience should be fun and enjoyable. Ask a lot of questions and make sure you are comfortable with the answers.  The staff should be professional, well-educated with superior product knowledge and be able to provide detailed accurate answers to all of your questions.  If the salesperson doesn’t know what they are selling, then how do you know what you are buying?

Lastly, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.  Go with your gut feeling on this one as it is probably right.”

Jim Summa, CGA, Summa Jewelry:  “If a man is shopping for a gift of jewelry for a woman, we recommend to try and pick up on the style of jewelry she wears before you even walk in a jewelry store. Does she like stud earrings or dangle style? Does she wear yellow, white, rose metals or a combination? Has she dropped any hints lately about what she would like to have or has admired on a friend? It helps to narrow down some choices when there are a lot to pick from. Also ask about wish list items that may be on file at the store. Many salespeople keep notes throughout the year when customers stop in for a routine visit.”

John Carter, CGA, Jack Lewis Jewelers:  “Don’t be afraid to take a chance and get something for your loved one that you’re not positive he/she will love. Go out on a limb and choose something that YOU think they will love.  Probing and asking too many questions can ruin the surprise and the holidays are about the magic of choosing something to express how much that person is appreciated. If you tip them off to what you’re planning it can take away from that moment and how they feel when they see it. Any reputable store should have a generous enough return policy that will allow for a return or exchange after the holidays. I always tell my clients, “I’ll take the risk if you do.”  So go out there and get them something that reminds you of them but most importantly, tell them why!”

Louis Smith, CG, Smithworks Fine Jewelry:  “Be sure to always buy from a jewelry professional and not a sales clerk. You will gain knowledge and feel confident in your fine jewelry purchases. Also, if something is less expensive, the first question should be why?”

We also asked Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company for their advice—because insuring your valuable is always a great tip, right?

“Whether you are buying jewelry for a loved one or are the lucky recipient this holiday season, consider how you’re going to protect your jewelry for years to come. Having worldwide comprehensive coverage, such as our Perfect Circle Jewelry Insurance gives you freedom to wear and enjoy your new jewelry now and keep it protected for the future.”

Finally, we have one rock solid piece of advice for shopping for jewelry this holiday season. Shop with a knowledgeable, professional, credentialed jeweler. It will boost your buying confidence and make the shopping experience less stressful. You can find an American Gem Society credentialed jeweler here.

Happy shopping, happy holidays and here’s to a sparkling New Year! We’ll see you in 2015!

 

The American Gem Society Presents $ 10,000 Check to Local Charity

The American Gem Society recently presented a $10,000 check from the Jewelers for Children (JFC) to The Children’s Heart Foundation (CHF) as part of a Local Grant Program. JFC, a non-profit organization founded by the jewelry industry in 1999, is dedicated to helping children in need. The charity launched a Local Grant Program in 2013 and continued again this year.  The goal is to fund ten $10,000 grants for local children’s charities around the country. Organizations in the jewelry industry were asked to nominate their favorite local organization, and the American Gem Society nominated CHF.  Public voting on the Jewelers for Children Facebook page (www.facebook.com/JewelersforChildren) determined the charities to receive the grants.

“We are so excited to be able to help The Children’s Heart Foundation,” says Ruth Batson, CEO of The American Gem Society. “It was very personal to us. One our employees at The American Gem Society has a daughter who has been personally helped by The Children’s Heart Foundation, and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them, and present this grant in hopes that it will help others!”

More than 15,000 people were motivated to visit the Jewelers for Children Facebook page and vote for their favorite local charity. The American Gem Society worked in conjunction with The Children’s Heart Foundation to encourage people to vote.  Their efforts paid off.

Left to Right: Karl Klein, his daughter Phoebe Rose, Kelley Mazur from the Children’s Heart Foundation and Ruth Batson, CEO of the American Gem Society and AGS Laboratories

Left to Right: Karl Klein, his daughter Phoebe Rose, Kelley Mazur from the Children’s Heart Foundation and Ruth Batson, CEO of the American Gem Society and AGS Laboratories

 

Pantone announces the 2015 Color of the Year!

By Amanda L. Colborn

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You’ve likely heard that Pantone has released their Color of the Year for 2015, a warm and spicy shade called “Marsala!”

Upon its release, the team at AGS noticed something very familiar about this shade…it perfectly matches the red garnet gemstone!

Red Garnet polished gemstone

Red Garnet polished gemstone

Because the colors match so perfectly, we wanted to show you some jewelry options that would pair perfectly with Pantone’s Marsala.

Garnet ring from Parlé Jewelry Designs

Garnet ring from Parlé Jewelry Designs

First is a gorgeous red garnet and 14 karat yellow gold ring from Parlé Jewelry Designs.  This ring features a stunning, oval-cut center stone, surrounded by yellow gold and diamonds.

Earrings by Parlé Jewelry Designs

Earrings by Parlé Jewelry Designs

Next, also from Parlé Jewelry Designs, these gorgeous garnet and 14 karat white gold earrings.  Each earring features a beautiful pear-cut garnet surrounded by diamonds.

Garnet ring by Coffin & Trout Fine Jewelers

Garnet ring by Coffin & Trout Fine Jewelers

Lastly, this ring by Coffin & Trout Fine Jewelers is absolutely breathtaking.  It features a huge, round-cut center garnet, surrounded by white and yellow diamonds as well as more garnets, all set in beautiful rose gold.

You cannot go wrong with any of these options here among countless others to suit your Pantone preferences.  Use our Find A Jeweler tool as well to locate an AGS certified jeweler in your area for even more garnet options.  Enjoy!

Tanzanite, Zircon and Turquoise – Oh my!

By Amanda L. Colborn

Happy birthday December! We’re thrilled to feature three beautiful birthstones and talk a little bit about just what makes them so special.

Tanzanite

Discovered in the late 1960s in Tanzania, and found exclusively in this tiny area of the world, tanzanite exhibits a rich violet-blue color for which the gemstone is treasured; often it is heat-treated to achieve this color.  Colors range from blue to purple, and tanzanites that are medium dark in tone, vivid in saturation, and slightly violet blue command premium prices.  As tanzanite can be less expensive than sapphire, it often was purchased as an alternative.  However, it has increased in popularity and now is valued more for its own beauty and brilliance than as a sapphire substitute.

Tanzanite

Zircon

Derived from the Arabic words zar and gun, meaning gold and color, zircon is found in a wide range of colors such as: blue, yellow, orange, brown, green, colorless, and red (the most prized color). For many years colorless zircon was used to imitate diamonds.  Folk wisdom grants zircon the power to relieve pain, whet the appetite, protect travelers from disease and injury, to ensure a warm welcome, and to prevent nightmares guaranteeing a deep, tranquil sleep.  Major sources of zircon are the Chanthaburi area of Thailand, the Palin area of Cambodia, and the southern part of Vietnam.

Zircon

Turquoise

The name turquoise, from the French expression Pierre tourques or Turkish stone, originated in the thirteenth century and describes one of the oldest known gemstones. Turquoise varies in color from greenish blue, through robin’s egg-blue, to sky blue shades and its transparency ranges from translucent  to opaque. Turquoise is plentiful and is available in a wide range of sizes. It is most often used for beads, cabochons, carvings, and inlays. Although its popularity fluctuates in fashion, it is a perennial favorite in the American Southwest.

Turquoise

Unique Wedding Bands for Men

By Amanda L Colborn

For this week’s #WeddingWednesday we wanted to do something just a little different.  Usually we pay tribute to all the gorgeous variations of women’s wedding and engagement jewelry.  This week we wanted to get the men into the mix and shine the spotlight on just of few of the thousands of variations and options for men’s wedding bands.

Have you ever wondered why men wear wedding rings in the first place? Is it just tradition or a true sentiment of love?

Well, it is both!  In ancient Egypt, both men and women wore wedding bands as a symbol of their never-ending love.  Fast forward several hundred years to the early 1900’s in America — men were seen as the dominant sex, and they did not feel they needed to show their dedication and love to a woman.  Also, many men felt at that time that a ring on their finger would only get dirty at work and in the way, therefore men’s wedding bands fell out of fashion for awhile.  It wasn’t until World War II that men started wearing wedding bands more commonly, as a reminder of their dear wives back home and their commitment while overseas.  Men’s wedding bands continued to be common among military men, but it wasn’t until after the Korean War that they started to become more popular among civilian men.

Now, men have plenty of options and styles to choose from for whatever their fashion sense or lifestyle require.  Most commonplace, is the traditional and simple, wide band in either gold or silver.

However that doesn’t work for everyone, so let’s explore some updated and stylish new options for men:

Commanding Grey Titanium Dome Grid Band by Hearts on Fire

Commanding Grey Titanium Dome Grid Band by Hearts on Fire

First up we have this stunning band made from grey titanium. Durable and strong for long term wear.  This ring offers a unique grid design and three diamond accents.  Yes! Men can wear diamonds every day too!  What is nice about this ring is that the diamonds do not take away from the masculine appeal of this band.

Men's Black Paneled Cobalt Chrome Wedding Ring by Ritani

Men’s Black Paneled Cobalt Chrome Wedding Ring by Ritani

Next, we have this super sleek and sophisticated band from Ritani.  This band is perfect for the man who does not want or need a ring that commands attention, like a shiny gold or silver band.  This ring itself is much more demure and mysterious while still being completely durable and sleek for everyday wear.

Comfort Fit Band by Etienne Perret

Comfort Fit Band by Etienne Perret

The Etienne Perret band above features a unique design from the traditional men’s wedding band.  This ring features a squared top detail and a real diamond enhanced with red, all set in white gold.  This ring is for the man who wants something extra, a little extra elegance and a bold statement.  This ring is gorgeous and will work perfectly either dressed up or dressed down.

And there we have three great examples of how you can take the traditional men’s wedding band and upgrade it to fit your lifestyle and design preference.  Check with your local AGS Jeweler for more options and make sure to shop for your wedding bands together! Your partner in life may introduce you to a piece that you won’t be able to live without.  Good luck!

 

2014 Holiday Jewelry Trends

By Amanda L Colborn

With the holiday season right around the corner – this is the perfect time to post about upcoming jewelry trends so you can dress to impress at your next holiday party.  We’ve come across several themes this season, but the following six definitely stood out the most.

Let’s jump right to them:

Charms

Link bracelet in 14K white gold with 14K rose gold rose charm from Ben Bridge .

Link bracelet in 14K white gold with 14K rose gold rose charm from Ben Bridge

Charm bracelets are classic for the holiday season.  What better way to show the one you care about than with a beautiful charm selected just for them? This is the ultimate in personalization for the bracelet lover in your life.  Charm bracelets are also a perfect way to show off to friends and family what is important to you.  They are guaranteed conversation starters!

Rose Gold

Rose gold ring with green gold and diamonds from Jabel Jewelry

Rose gold ring with green gold and diamonds from Jabel Jewelry

Rose gold is the epitome of feminine elegance.  It brings out the brilliance of diamonds and colored gemstones and complements just about every taste.  Rose gold pieces have been generating a lot of likes and compliments via the American Gem Society’s social media pages and we’re just as in love with it as you are.  Add an additional touch of beauty to your holiday outfit with a gorgeous piece of jewelry set in rose gold.

Seventies Flair

White and yellow diamonds set in 18kt gold with a pearl center from Yael Designs

White and yellow diamonds set in 18K gold with a pearl center from Yael Designs

Recently at the American Gem Society, we got into a discussion about the comeback of yellow gold.  It seems to be showing up a lot more in the fashion-scene in an especially seventies way.  Thick, chunky chains, bold medallions and sleek cuffs are appearing more and more in yellow gold.  Accentuate a chic, minimalist outfit this holiday season with a bold piece of jewelry.  Tell us how you feel about this trend in our comments section.

Mismatched Earrings

Pink sapphire and rose gold studs by Omi Prive

Pink sapphire and rose gold studs by Omi Prive

Pink sapphire and rose gold drop earrings by Omi Prive

Pink sapphire and rose gold drop earrings by Omi Prive

Two earrings and two earlobes no longer are one in the same! Mismatched earrings is very on-trend this season and we absolutely love the idea of pairing together a stud and a drop like these two sets shown above.  In both the same gemstone and type of metal – these two sets are made for each other!

Unique Rings

Woven braided saddle ring with diamond pave in 18K gold from John Hardy

Woven braided saddle ring with diamond pave in 18K gold from John Hardy

There are so many options for unique rings, this might be the easiest and most favorite trend to pull off this season.  From rings which cover your entire finger or just a larger portion of it (such as the ring shown above) to tiny, delicate midi-rings to asymmetrical rings – you have countless options to mix and match at your leisure.  Let these rings steal the show at your holiday party by pairing it with just a light, simple necklace.  Your friends will be in awe!

Layered Jewelry

Pearl and mixed metal layered necklace from Mastoloni Pearls

Pearl and mixed metal layered necklace from Mastoloni Pearls

Layered jewelry, like this statement necklace from Mastoloni Pearls make even the most simple outfit something truly spectacular.  Both necklaces and bracelets layer well and don’t fret about mixing metals! Shades of gold and silver can all work well together.  Give it a try and see what fun combinations you’ll discover!

And there we have it, your holiday jewelry trends report for the 2014 season.  Experiment, have fun and show off your fine jewelry pieces to friends and family this holiday season.  And don’t forget! It’s truly better to give than to receive so share your newly discovered, secret jewelry knowledge with your loved ones as well!

Instagram Favorites

By Amanda L. Colborn

It has been awhile since we blogged about our top likes for the American Gem Society Instagram page. We thought this would be a good opportunity to look back at what fine jewelry pieces have the most likes from our followers.  The followers of our Instagram page definitely do not disappoint, the four pieces below are what have the most likes and they are absolutely stunning!

blog_omiprive_1First up is a stunning ring by Omi Privé.  It’s easy to see why people loved this ring so much, just look at it! This jaw-dropping 10.10ct pink-orange tourmaline is set in beautiful rose gold and surrounded by diamonds. This ring is so feminine and classy, who wouldn’t fall in love with it?

blog_yaeldesigns_2Next up, a unique piece by Yael Designs.  This ring is a blue zircon and diamonds set in white gold.  We love the claw clasp holding the center stone, this ring would be a perfect accompaniment to any upcoming winter-themed celebration.

blog_wimmersdiamonds_3Here is something you don’t get to see everyday!  Wimmer’s Diamonds posted this very cool photo of rough diamonds on their Instagram page and people seemed to just love it!  As much as we love looking at gorgeous pieces of fine jewelry, it is always great to see how diamonds look naturally — they’re always beautiful no matter what stage they’re in!

blog_alsonjewelers_5Last and certainly not least, we have this piece from Alson Jewelers.  This 3.28ct fancy yellow diamond ring commands attention and adoration.  It was no surprise to us that this piece made the list of top likes, it’s absolutely beautiful!

How do you feel about our top liked pieces on Instagram?  Let us know your favorite in the comment section, we love hearing from you!