Erica Courtney’s Tucson Gem Show Tour

By Randi Molofsky

EC_Aug_headshotEach winter jewelry designers, stone dealers and rock hunters head to the desert for the world’s largest gem and mineral show. From teeny-tiny precious gems that go for tens of thousands a carat to massive geodes that have to be trucked in, the annual fair in Tucson, AZ, is a favorite of fine jewelry designers like Los Angeles-based Erica Courtney.

Although she regularly travels the globe in search of spectacular colored gems for her signature Drop Dead Gorgeous collection—recent trips include Tanzania and Hong Kong—it’s this pilgrimage to the Southwest that holds a special place in her heart.

“It’s just paradise for us,” Erica explains. “We get to see all these types of amazing gemstones, plus we get to meet new people in the industry. What could be better than networking and keeping ourselves updated with the latest gemstones?”

Below, Erica shares her three favorite gemstone finds from the show, and why exactly she’ll be bringing them home to use in upcoming collections.

EC tourmaline

Tourmaline

Tourmaline: Tourmaline has a bunch of different colorations, and we were loving them because we saw a lot of new and exciting colors. Some of them can be so bright and beautiful, it’s so hard to resist. Plus, the clarity of tourmalines is always exquisite.

EC csarite

Csarite

Csarite: Csarite is just such an interesting stone—did you know it’s only found in one place in the world, in the remote Turkish Anatolian mountains? Everyone loves the way the stone changes color from from kiwi greens in sunlight to raspberry purplish-pinks in candlelight; as well as the dispersion on the stone. It’s just so unique!

Purple Garnets: Purple garnets were also one the highlights of the show, they had such a saturated and vivid coloration—I have never seen such beautiful garnets! So different and super sparkly, just a shade different from amethyst. Gorgeous!

One look at Erica’s designs and you’ll understand why colored gemstones are so important for inspiration. Here are three brand new pieces by Erica Courtney with her signature detailed settings and bold color.

spinel

18K yellow gold “Sayeda” ring featuring a 5.49ct spinel, accented with 1.26ctw Rubelite Tourmaline and 1.21ctw diamonds.

mint tourmaline

18K yellow gold “Crossover” ring featuring a 7.42ct mint tourmaline, accented with two 0.47ctw opals on the sides and 1.09ctw diamonds.

pariaba

18K yellow gold “Cigar Band” ring featuring a 2.10ct paraiba tourmaline cabochon, accented with 0.22ctw paraiba tourmaline and 0.65ctw diamonds.

City Spotlight: Los Angeles

By Randi Molofsky

This new semi-regular feature will highlight some of our members’ favorite places to go and things to see in their hometowns, as well a sneak peek at their newest designs. First up: Los Angeles, where Michael John Jewelry and OMI Privé are headquartered.

Michael John Jewelry’s, Michael Hezar

Michael Hezar

Michael’s favorite Los Angeles…

  • RestaurantNobu Malibu
  • MuseumGetty Villa in Malibu
  • Shopping – I like the new and up-and-coming designer brands available at Barneys.
  • Weekend activity – My family and I live and breathe soccer and it pretty much occupies most of our time spent on the weekends. My wife, Atousa, and I have two boys and we are either at one of their tournaments, playing with them one-on-one or watching it together on TV.
  • Day trip – I love to visit Santa Barbara for relaxing and taking trips up to Big Bear for skiing with the family.

We love Michael John’s creations for their bold silhouettes and fashion-forward designs. Some of the designer’s newest pieces include a major pink diamond ring perfect for the ultra-feminine bride and a set of rose-cut diamond pieces that have more than enough sparkle for a night on the town.

Michael John Jewelry 5.70 carat pink diamond ring in 18k rose gold.

MJ pink diamondMichael John Jewelry rose-cut and round diamond ring in 18k white gold
and 39.61 carat rose-cut diamond bracelet in 18k white gold.

MJ ring bracelet
Founders, designers and brothers Michael and John Hezar, of Michael John Jewelry (formerly known as Michael John IMAGE and Image Jewelry), share a common goal of creating timeless fashion. Inspired by nature, these brilliant designs are crafted into impeccable jewelry with exquisite quality, allowing Michael John Jewelry to meet, if not surpass their goal of embracing everlasting style in all of their pieces.

OMI Privé’s, Niveet Nagpal

Niveet Nagpal

Niveet’s favorite Los Angeles…

OMI Privé designs out-of-this-world colored stone jewelry in classic settings with a twist. New favorites include this stunning purple spinel ring with a surprising alexandrite halo, and an oval aquamarine set in unexpected rose gold.

OMI Privé spinel and alexandrite ring in 18k rose gold.OMI spinel

OMI Privé aquamarine and diamond ring in 18k rose gold.OMI aqua

The Omi Gems family dates back five generations to Burma in the early 1900s. Decades of wars and close escapes from political unrest followed. With a handful of gems, a brilliant outlook, and a clear mindset, Omi Nagpal and his loving wife, Preeti, came to the United States. There, they founded and built a loose gemstone house that over time became synonymous with the world’s most valuable jewels. Now, the Los Angeles-based company is led by Omi’s son, Niveet. As head designer, Niveet has continued the family’s reputation and high integrity through the Omi Privé fine jewelry collection.

Rare, Precious and Ready for Primetime: Paraiba Tourmaline

By Randi Molofsky

ParaibaTourmalines are getting a lot of love recently–from the bold red rubellite to the beguiling teal blue/green indicolite–but no variety is more coveted than the nearly neon Paraiba. Named after the northeastern state of Brazil where they were first found, they are instantly recognizable by its electric glow of bright blue/green (attributed to small amounts of copper in its chemical composition), these gems are rare and expensive (often costing 5 figures per carat).

So, the question is: why exactly are Paraibas so pricey? For the answer, we’ll have to look at the history, provenance and availability of these spectacular stones.

Discovered just 27 years ago in Paraiba, Brazil by a miner named Heitor Dimas Barbosa, this gemstone is notoriously difficult to excavate. Mined by hand to avoid damaging the crystals, Paraibas in the rough are found in pencil-thin veins deep below the earth’s surface in very small sizes. Although, a bit of good news: since its discovery, chemically similar (or in cases, identical) tourmalines have been found in Mozambique and Nigeria in larger sizes, making it a bit easier to own.

Celebrities are now getting in on the action, too. Julianne Moore, one of our best dressed of the Golden Globes, paired her blue Tom Ford gown with a Chopard High Jewelry ring featuring 18.32 carats of Paraiba tourmalines and 2.98 carats of diamonds. Covered with pavé Paraibas and set into an eye-catching blue titanium, the ring was one of the most daring on the red carpet.

JulianneMooreIf you’re dreaming of your own gorgeous piece of Paraiba jewelry, look no further than New York-based Suna Bros. Making jewelry in the U.S. for 80 years, this family business has a knack for choosing investment-worthy stones for each hand-set creation. From a pear-shaped Paraiba perfect as an alternative engagement ring to fashion-forward silhouettes in yellow gold or with eye-catching diamond accents, the sky’s the limit.

pariba-2

 

Pizza Hut Marks Big Game’s Golden Anniversary With Pizza Glistening in Edible Gold

Shared from the blog of American Gem Society member, Stanley Jewelers Gemologist. 

Pizza Hut is celebrating the golden anniversary of the Super Bowl with a special pizza glistening in edible gold.

pizza1

Fifty lucky fans who order a Stuffed Garlic Knots Pizza on the day of the big game, Sunday, February 7, will be surprised when a Pizza Hut delivery person drives up with a special-edition gilded version topped with $100 worth of edible 24-karat gold. The pizza will be presented in a specially designed golden box along with a $100 Pizza Hut Gold Card. Carryout and dine-in customers are also eligible to win.

Super Bowl Sunday is the year’s biggest single day of pizza consumption in the U.S., according to Ad Age. Pizza Hut expects to deliver well over two million pizzas this Sunday, a jump of 80% to 90% from a typical day.

pizza2

“It’s not every day that the Golden Anniversary of the Big Game is played in the Golden State, so we felt it was only appropriate to celebrate with a limited-edition Golden Garlic Knots Pizza,” said Jared Drinkwater, Pizza Hut’s vice president of marketing, in a statement.

You don’t have to order the $12.99 pizza to be eligible to win the gilded version. It’s also possible to enter by emailing the Pizza Hut PR team between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. EST on February 7. Entries can be earned by sending an email with the subject line “Golden Garlic Knots Pizza Giveaway” to PR@PizzaHut.com with your complete name, mailing address, date of birth, and phone number (including area code). Each email will immediately trigger a winning or losing result.

Sadly, the promotion is limited to residents of only seven states: Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana and West Virginia.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube; Pizza Hut.

Read more from Stanley Jewelers Gemologist at http://stanleyjewelers.com/

Popping the Question? The AGS Perfect Proposal Toolkit is Here to Help!

Destiny Teardrop Shape HOF

Destiny Teardrop Halo by Hearts On Fire.

February has begun, meaning “romance season” is officially here! If you plan to propose this Valentine’s Day, the American Gem Society is here to make your proposal perfect with our 4th Annual Perfect Proposal Toolkit.

Even better, when you enter our Perfect Proposal Contest, you could win a gift certificate to an American Gem Society member jeweler, worth $1,500!

Beginning today, February 1st, enter the contest by visiting https://www.americangemsociety.org/perfect-proposal-contest, and check out the Perfect Proposal Toolkit.

This Toolkit is a handy guide offering 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. There’s even a Perfect Proposal song list to help inspire you or set the stage.

Suna Bros_Rubellite

Rubellite and Diamonds set in Platinum by Suna Brothers.

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.

The Perfect Proposal Toolkit will be live today through Valentine’s Day.

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

We cannot wait to hear from you on TwitterInstagram or Facebook about how your perfect proposal went.