Jewelry Buying Tips from the Pros

By Donna Jolly, RJ
American Gem Society

 

cropped-blogbanner1.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