April Birthstone: Diamond

By Anna Samsonova, CGA, Ben Bridge Jewelers

“Diamonds ARE a girl’s best friend,” especially if you were born in April!

Since the beginning of time, diamonds have been associated with strength, love and purity. They are symbols of eternal love and great status. Many of us know of famous diamonds and their stories, from the infamous Hope Diamond to the Koh-i-Noor Diamond (both diamonds reputedly hold a curse to those who own or wear them).  Most people think of diamonds as clear gemstones, and they can indeed be quite clear, but diamonds can also be quite colorful. Diamond colors range from blue and green, to red and purple, and even black.  There is a diamond color to match any outfit a person wears.  Learn more about the April birthstone here!

The name diamond comes from the Greek “Adamas,” meaning “invincible” or “unconquerable” and it is one of the oldest substances on earth. Diamonds are the hardest mineral in existence and have many uses industrially, like cutting, polishing and sawing other substances.

No two diamonds are alike, just like fingerprints and snowflakes. What makes your diamond so unique is its different characteristics (also known as the 4Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat). Learn about all of the 4Cs here!

Clarity refers to the inclusions in a diamond, which is what makes some of them particularly unique and identifiable. The inclusions can form shapes, which your imagination may interpret as anything from a heart to a hummingbird. Diamond facets can act like mirrors in a fun house and can reflect inclusions like a kaleidoscope. My favorite diamond inclusions can even host other stones such as garnets. According to the zodiac, April babies are as unique as the birthstone which represents them!

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Extraordinary Diamond Split Shank and Gallery Engagement Ring
by Precision Set Fine Jewelry Works.

American Gem Society Member Spotlight: Lisa Bridge, CG

By Randi Molofsky

Lisa BridgeGemologist and designer, Lisa Bridge, has been around fine jewelry and gemstones her entire life. As a fifth generation member of the Seattle-based Ben Bridge empire (70 stores and counting across the United States!), she knows a thing or two about what kind of accessories women want to wear, and luckily enough, she has the right connections (wink, wink) to design her version of statement jewelry at accessible price points. We spoke to Lisa about how her collection came to be, and what’s next for the brand.

Jewelry is definitely in your blood. What is it like to be a fifth generation jeweler?

It is a tremendous joy to have spent my life dreaming of jewelry! Growing up, it was what we talked about around the dinner table and our spring break trips were spent visiting stores. Being in business with my family is wonderful, I get to learn from them and share in the business that they have built.

moss agateLisa Bridge Angular Moss Agate Necklace in Sterling Silver

Why did you decide to earn your gemology degree and move into design?

I believe in professionalism and I knew that I needed the best knowledge to achieve it. I sought my gemological titles to gain a base of knowledge that I am constantly building upon.

Your collection uses gemstones in 14k gold and silver. What is your design process like and what stones and silhouettes are you loving right now?

Every piece of jewelry has a different journey. Sometimes I am inspired by a particular stone – for example, I found a wonderfully shaped piece of lapis in Tucson last year. It was almost a guitar-pick shape. I took that piece of lapis home and stared at it dreaming of what it could become. I designed a suite of jewelry using this unusual shape and customers have really responded to it!

The other way I find inspiration is in experiencing incredible places. I love gazing at a beautiful vista of mountains, trees, and water. I find ideas in the shapes and colors that I see. Traveling is one of my favorite things and now trying to capture the essence of amazing places is a delicious challenge!

malachite
Lisa Bridge Malachite Ring in Sterling Silver

What have the reactions from your customers been to your line?

I feel deeply gratified that customers have embraced the collection. I am encouraged by people who come back to purchase a second or third piece having loved what they already have. Having my creations become part of people’s lives is truly a wonderful gift.

chalcedony hoops

Lisa Bridge Chalcedony & Agate Hoop Earrings in Sterling Silver

What’s next for the LB collection?

I am excited to be introducing a new collection this fall full of new inspiration, colors, and gemstones!

Shop the Lisa Bridge for Ben Bridge collection right here.

 

Getting Real About Jewelry Insurance: Three Customer Stories

By Chelsea Drusch, Jewelers Mutual Insurance

That feeling of dread that trickles down through your body, starting in your throat and traveling down to the pit of your stomach …

Amy-Testimonial-crop_1Imagine hearing the sickening crack of metal breaking in half and reaching down to feel a jagged edge, immediately realizing your wedding band just snapped in two. You’re now overcome with a secondary wave of dread as you envision the ensuing battle with your insurance company.

This was Ann’s story, a Jewelers Mutual policyholder, and her initial reaction when knowing she’d need to make a claim.

Recreating Ann’s Ring

After her jeweler examined the ring and reported the damage irreparable, Ann said she was certain she was in for a long, drawn-out fight with her insurance. She was sure there would be disagreement on the ability to repair the ring.

Ann was, in her words, “100% thrilled at how the claims process went.” Jewelers Mutual agreed with her jeweler’s assessment and approved the re-creation of her ring.

“I was expecting a hassle and for things to take a long time. I was pleasantly surprised on both. Your employees were kind, compassionate and professional. Calls were answered quickly and I didn’t get different answers from different people. Getting a diamond back on my finger was amazingly fast.”

The Unique Cut of Jay’s Diamond

Both Ann and Amy owned traditional jewelry and their fears were directed toward the insurance process itself. Jay, on the other hand, had a more unique concern:

“The lost diamond was a very unique cut and it was difficult for our jeweler to find a replacement. [Jewelers Mutual] insisted that the replacement be the exact same cut and had a stone specifically cut for us.”

Challenging the Misconceptions

At Jewelers Mutual, we understand the common misconceptions of insurance, and we strive to combat them by offering a truly remarkable experience for our customers.

Because we are passionate about and dedicate ourselves to insuring only jewelry, we are able to appreciate Ann’s jeweler’s assessment of her irreparable ring and recognize the unique nature of Jay’s diamond.

From our coverage to policyholder benefits and jewelry care and safety tips, you can expect a stellar experience from the moment you become part of the Jewelers Mutual family.

Just ask Ann, Amy, Jay, and our other policyholders who share thanks for their Jewelers Mutual jewelry insurance.

If you have your own stellar Jewelers Mutual experience, please share it with us.

March Birthstone Spotlight: The Tranquil Aquamarine

By Robin Skibicki
Aqua2There are two birthstones that represent the month of March: aquamarine and bloodstone. Both are beautiful and unique gems, but aquamarine is currently the most popular of jewelry designers and wearers.

The aquamarine is a member of the beryl family—same as the emerald—and its colors can range in tones from colorless pale blue, to blue green or teal. The larger the stone, the more intense the color. The most valuable gemstones come from Brazil, but is also mined in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique.

Aqua3This gemstone was believed to protect sailors, guaranteeing a safe voyage ahead. It is said its serene colors can cool the temper, allowing the wearer to be calm and levelheaded. This leads to heightened awareness, better communication, and the ability to retort with a quick response.

The healing powers associated with this stone are believed to cure ailments of the liver, jaws, stomach and throat. The transparent aquamarine was once used to make eyeglasses and lenses.

Now that you know a little more about these brilliant blue beauties, here are a few exquisite examples of how designers showcase the gorgeous gem.

An 18K white gold stunner by AG Gems, with an 9.59 carat aquamarine
flanked by blue sapphires, accented by diamonds.

AG-gems

Aquamarine and diamond pendant, a new addition to
Jye’s International Inc. Luxury Collection.

JYE-aquamarine and diamond pendant

Elegant dangle earrings by Spark Creations, featuring aquamarine and diamonds.

Spark-aquamarine

A glistening collection of aquamarine favorites by SUNA Bros.

Suna

A diamond swan and garnets frame a soothing, 75.59 carat aquamarine.
The Swan Lake pendant by Yael Designs.

SwanLake-Yael

To learn more about aquamarine, visit https://www.americangemsociety.org/birthstones.