Going Gaga for heart shapes!

By Amanda L Colborn

In honor of Lady Gaga’s recent engagement (and her heart-stopping diamond ring), we’re celebrating the heart symbol and the heart cut diamond.

Lady Gaga's engagement ring

Lady Gaga’s engagement ring

Did you know that we can trace the heart symbol all the way back to the Ice Age era?  It’s true. Cave paintings have been discovered with this symbol that trace back to the Ice Age. Though we do not know what this symbol meant to the cavemen who drew them, we do know that it was important enough for them to often paint it on the inside of their cave walls.

Capture

Cave painting from Cro-Magnon era

The mysterious symbol continued to show up throughout history, among several different groups of people and cultures.  For instance, the ancient Romans actually used the symbol on their currency.

Coin from Ancient Rome

Coin from ancient Rome

However, it is important to note that this symbol was not associated with the anatomical heart at all, actually the symbol for the ancient Romans was representative of the silphium plant which was used as a form of birth control in the city-state of Cyrene.

The heart shaped symbol then became a very important aspect in the religion of Christianity.  The Sacred Heart, representing Jesus Christ and his love for the people. With the spread of religion and ideas throughout the Middle Ages, eventually the symbol became a familiarity throughout the world. People began regularly associating the heart symbol with all aspects of love, however, no one is still 100% clear on how the symbol took on its universal meaning of love or why it took on the name “heart” even though it is clearly not shaped like the anatomical heart.

With its origin shrouded in mystery, one this for certain. When you present the woman you love with a heart shaped piece of jewelry, it means only one thing. She is the woman you love and you expressed that without even having to say the words. The shape says it all.

Here are several gorgeous examples of heart shaped jewelry that you can surprise your partner with any time of year!

Heart cut diamond engagement ring with halo from Steve Padis Jewelry

Heart cut diamond engagement ring with halo from Steve Padis Jewelry

 

Fulfillment-Heart-Pendant-1

The Fulfillment Heart Pendant from Hearts On Fire

2.00 carat heart cut diamond ring from Tiffany Co.

2.00 carat heart cut diamond ring from Tiffany Co.

 

Celebrating Cushion Cut

By Amanda L. Colborn

One of the most popular and consistently trending diamond and gemstone shapes is the cushion cut.

Originally referred to as the “old mine cut,” the cushion cut is essentially a square cut with rounded corners, much like a cushion…hence it’s name.

Arguably, one of the top most popular cuts today – the round cut diamond being the first – the cushion cut has been around for approximately 200 years.

Cushion cuts have evolved over time, refinements have been made since the 1920’s to improve the brilliance and light return of the cut causing a big increase in popularity over time and giving you the beautiful cut that you know and love today.

 

Cushion cut earrings from Forevermark Diamonds.

Cushion Cut Yellow Diamond Earrings from Forevermark Diamonds

The cushion cut does have different cut patterns and no two gemstones are the same, so be sure to talk to your American Gem Society jeweler about which one best suits your taste.  No matter which cushion cut jewelry piece you pick, you can feel confident knowing that you’re wearing one of the most popular and coveted cuts available!

Cushion Cut Tourmaline from Omi Privé

Cushion Cut Tourmaline from Omi Privé

Why is Valentine’s Day the most romantic day of the year?

By Amanda L. Colborn

Whether you’re single or coupled up, betrothed or still dating — Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year and not just a “Hallmark holiday” as many people say and assume.

In actuality, Hallmark didn’t even produce its first Valentine’s Day card until the year 1913 – centuries after the declaration of the holiday in 1537.

The origins of Valentine’s Day are shrouded in mystery.  The Catholic church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine.  One legend tells of Valentine as a priest who served during third century Rome. Valentine defied Emperor Claudius II by marrying young lovers in secret after the Emperor outlawed marriage saying it was a distraction to men going into war.

Other stories tell of a St. Valentine who may have been killed for trying to help Christians escape the perils of Roman imprisonment.  A more famous legend eludes to St. Valentine as being the original sender of Valentine’s Day greetings when he fell in love with a young woman who upon his deathbed, wrote her a letter and signed it “From your Valentine,” an expression still very much used today!

Though there are several different stories about the origins of this holiday, they all lead back to celebrating the loving hero that was St. Valentine.

Whichever history you choose to believe, make sure you spread the love to your partner or just treat yourself to something special!

And if you really want to show your significant other how much you love them, you can join the other several million people around the world who will be announcing their engagement on this most romantic of days!  If you plan on popping the question, make sure you check out the American Gem Society’s Perfect Proposal Toolkit for everything from how to choose a ring to how to set up the perfect proposal. And share with us! Tell us your story on social media, be sure to use #AGSProposal!

Have a safe and happy holiday!

A stunning ruby and diamond ring by Suna Bros.

A stunning ruby and diamond ring by Suna Bros.

The AGS Perfect Proposal Toolkit! Everything you need this Valentine’s Day

By: Amanda L. Colborn

Ahhh…..Valentine’s Day.  Love is in the air. Everyone is getting excited. Excited about spending time with their loved one. The dates. The surprises. The perfect time to propose!

Maybe you’re on the opposite end, you’re the one trying to plan the proposal. But where do you even start? There are so many things to consider! When is the right moment? Where should I propose? Do I want other people around me or just the two of us? And of course, what will the answer be?!

You can rest assured, The American Gem Society is here to make your proposal absolutely perfect!

In preparation for arguably the most popular day for marriage proposals, the diamond and gem experts American Gem Society and American Gem Society Laboratories have launched the Perfect Proposal Toolkit, as well as an all-new proposal countdown clock.

We created this Toolkit to provide suggestions and inventive recommendations for both traditional and unconventional wedding proposals. The Toolkit provides a simple navigation experience, helping you find exactly what you’re looking for by categorizing and providing tips for romantic, funny, adventurous, “2.0” and simple proposals.

Did you know that on average, men spend a little over three months hunting for the perfect ring?  Our site provides expert advice on selecting the type of ring with which to propose (including what to look for when selecting the proper stones, settings, colors, sizes, etc.) saving you time and money, as well as memorable proposal stories, the latest trends, music playlists to set the mood and more.

The Toolkit also offers an easy to use “Find A Jeweler” feature that provides contact information on all American Gem Society certified jewelers throughout the United States.

To provide ample time to plan a small or large scale proposal, the Perfect Proposal Toolkit will be live through Valentine’s Day.

Toolkit users are encouraged to join the conversation and share their Perfect Proposal stories using the hashtag, #AGSProposal.

We cannot wait to hear from you on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook about how your perfect proposal went!

 

Celebrating the birthstone of February – Amethyst!

By: Amanda L. Colborn

Amethyst, the gemstone believed by ancient Greeks and Romans to ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus, also is said to keep the wearer clear-headed and quick-witted.

Throughout history, the gemstone has been associated with many myths, legends, religions, and numerous cultures.  English regalia were even decorated with amethysts during the Middle Ages to symbolize royalty.  Amethyst is purple quartz, a beautiful blend of violet and red that can found in every corner of the earth. Historically, the finest amethyst were found in Russia and were featured in much royal European jewelry.  Today, while Brazil is the primary source of this gemstone, fine material can be found elsewhere, especially in Zambia.

Raw amethyst at the AGS headquarters

Raw amethyst at the AGS headquarters

Amethyst pendant from Parlé Jewelry Designs

Amethyst pendant from Parlé Jewelry Designs

Amethyst ring from Parlé Jewelry Designs

Amethyst ring from Parlé Jewelry Designs