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.