Spinel Named Third Birthstone for August

AugustBirthstonesWe have a birthday present for those born in August: the spectacular spinel has been added to your month’s birthstone lineup! August now joins June and December as the only months represented by three gems. The original birthstone for August was Sardonyx, and then peridot was added, becoming August’s primary gem. Without further ado, let’s welcome the spinel!

Spinel

4908The spinel is often assumed to be other gemstones because it tends to resemble either a ruby or sapphire. In fact, some of the most famous rubies in history have turned out to be spinel. But its distinguishing features, like its octahedral crystal structure and single refraction, are what sets it apart from other gems. Spinel also has a lower Mohs hardness than ruby and sapphire.

Significant deposits of spinel have been found in Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. It has also been found in Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, Nepal, Nigeria, Tadzhikistan, Tanzania and the U.S.

Vivid red is the most desirable color of spinel gemstones, followed by cobalt blue, bright pink and bright orange. The more affordable stones are often those with paler colors, like lavender. You may also find spinel in black, violet blue, greenish blue, grayish, pale pink, mauve, yellow or brown. So many choices!

When shopping for spinel, a good quality stone should have no visible inclusions. The more inclusions, the less valuable the stone. Spinel can be found various cuts, like octagons, trillions, squares, rounds and fancy shapes, like ovals, pears, and cushions.

Below is a collection of designs featuring the spectacular spinel!

AG-Gems-PurpleSpinel-ring


AG Gems designed this ring featuring a natural purple spinel flanked by two natural half-moon cut violet spinels, set in 18k white gold, and accented by pink sapphires and diamonds.

JohnHardy-pinkspinel

Sterling Silver Classic Chain Medium Bracelet with pink spinel by John Hardy.

OMI-SpinelDiamondRing

Omi Privé 18k yellow gold ring featuring a 3.27 carat oval spinel, round spinels, and round diamonds.

Peridot

Natural Green Peridot

The signature green color of peridot comes from the composition of the mineral itself—rather than from trace impurities, as with many gems. That is why peridot is one of few stones that only comes in one color, though shades may vary from yellowish-green to olive to brownish green, depending how much iron is present.

Most of the world’s peridot supply comes from the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. Other sources are China, Myanmar, Pakistan and Africa.

Also known as “the Evening Emerald” because its sparkling green hue looks brilliant any time of day, peridot is said to possess healing properties that protect against nightmares and evil, ensuring peace and happiness. Babies born in August are lucky to be guarded by peridot’s good fortune.

Peridot can be assessed with the same 4Cs criteria as diamonds—using Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat weight to determine value. The finest peridots have a lovely lime green hue without any hints of brown or yellow. Quality gems have no inclusions visible to the naked eye, though dark spots may be evident under a microscope. When you look closely, due to double refraction, you may see two of each facet on a peridot.

Whether you’re shopping for an August birthday or a 16th wedding anniversary, be sure to visit an AGS-certified jeweler. They will help you find the perfect peridot design, like those pictured below!

Carelle-PeridotRing

Whirl Peridot and Burnished Diamond Ring by Carelle.

LikaBehar-peridot

Oxidized Sterling Silver and 24k Gold “Candy” Earring with Oval Peridot Cabochon, by Lika Behar Collection.

EricaCourtneyCHEVRON-RING-peridot-2

Erica Courtney presents 18k Yellow Gold “Chevron” Ring
Featuring a 9.81ct Peridot, Accented with 1.04ctw diamonds.

Sardonyx

Sardonyx combines alternating layers of sard and onyx—two types of the layered mineral chalcedony—to create a reddish zebra-striped stone with white bands.

Sard ranges in color from yellowish red to reddish brown, depending how much iron oxide is present. Sard is easily confused with carnelian, another type of chalcedony that is slightly softer and lighter in color.

Sardonyx, like onyx, shows layers of parallel bands—instead of the chaotic, curved bands that compose agate, another type of chalcedony.

The finest examples of sardonyx, which display sharp contrasts between layers, are found in India. Other sources include Brazil, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Madagascar, Uruguay, and the United States.

Used as a stone of strength and protection since ancient times, sardonyx is associated with courage, happiness, and clear communication. Some believe that placing sardonyx at each corner of a house will grant protection against evil.

Sardonyx makes a great gift for people born in August who want something a little different than the traditional peridot birthstone. Readily available and relatively inexpensive, sardonyx makes an affordable addition to anyone’s collection.

The qualify factors of sardonyx are not as clearly defined as other gems like diamonds, so ask an AGS-certified jeweler for help selecting good stones. Generally, the 4Cs still apply.

Sardonyx is widely available and moderately priced in sizes up to 10 carats. The most common cut is cabochon, though it is popularly carved into cameos, intaglios, inlays and broaches to emphasize the contrast between layers.

Artificial and imitation sardonyx has been produced from common chalcedony and plain agate as far back as Roman times, according to writings from first-century naturalist, Pliny. Some gems are also stained with iron oxide pigment or treated with nitric acid to enhance color. These enhancements make stones less valuable than natural sardonyx, so watch for possible imitations when buying these gems.

Want to know more about birthstones? Click here to see all birthstones by month on the American Gem Society website.

Jeweler Spotlight: Denise Chislett, CGA, Underwood Jewelers, Florida

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Denise Chislett, CGA, Underwood Jewelers

The American Gem Society had a chance to speak with Denise Chislett, CGA, from Underwood Jewelers, which is located in these four Florida locations: San Marco, Ponte Verde Beach, Avondale, and in the Mall of the Avenues.

The CGA title after Denise’s name means she is an American Gem Society (AGS) Certified Gemologist Appraiser: the most highly regarded title among peers in the jewelry industry. In order to earn this title, the associate requires advanced training and experience in determining the value of diamonds and gemstones.

Denise Chislett is also the chair—and one of the founding members—of the AGS Young Titleholders (YTs) Committee. The YTs is a fun and energetic group of individuals who celebrate their hard-earned AGS titles, and they represent the next generation of leaders in the jewelry industry and the American Gem Society.

Denise shares with us her favorite jewelry styles, trends and pet peeves, and the importance of shopping with an AGS-credentialed jeweler.

Describe your jewelry style:
I only wear yellow gold; it looks better on my skin. One of my favorites is a men’s Rolex in yellow gold. It makes me even happier that yellow gold is in style right now. For earrings, I always wear studs—everywhere. To the beach or even to the pool.

Do you have any diamond obsessions?
Oval diamonds: they are my favorite cut diamonds. I love the shape and how it elongates your finger. Oval cuts are coming into trend, too!

Speaking of trends, what other trends should we pay attention to?
There is a trend toward solitaire rings or a single, beautifully cut diamond with a couple of side stones.

Although we only have another month or so left of summer, what is your favorite go-to jewelry for the season?
I tend to wear lighter colored stones like turquoise or lapis. In general, I wear more shades of blue! It doesn’t differentiate that much from other seasons since I live in Florida!

Favorite underappreciated gemstone:
The opal. This year at JCK [the industry’s largest jewelry and gemstone event] it was all about opals. I predict it is going to be a huge trend.

Do you have any jewelry pet peeves?
I don’t like matching jewelry. If I’m wearing Roberto Coin earrings, I probably will wear a necklace by someone else that is in yellow gold.

We are always telling our readers to buy jewelry from a credentialed, American Gem Society jeweler. As one such jeweler, what advice do you have for jewelry buyers looking for a personal jeweler?
When you visit an AGS-certified store, you are going to get a passionate professional who is not only highly educated on jewelry and gemology, but you are going to get someone with a good reputation that you can trust to give you great service and good advice. So many AGS-certified jewelers have been in business for decades, and some for more than a century, and continuously uphold their great reputations as ethical jewelers.

What do you do in your store that makes you different from other jewelers?
There are so many ways that you can differentiate yourself. We show our customers how to evaluate a diamond’s light performance with the American Gem Society’s ASET® (Angular Spectra Evaluation Tool). We also discuss with our customers the scientific difference with AGS Laboratories Diamond Grading Reports. Our customers truly appreciate that we can explain the various complexities of diamonds and jewelry with them.

Below are a few shots of Denise’s favorite jewelry:

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Top Left: 18kt yellow and white gold Barocco diamond chandelier earrings by Roberto Coin
Top Right: 18kt yellow gold moonstone ring by Erica Courtney
Bottom Left: 18kt yellow gold Rolex President; 18kt yellow gold bangles by Forevermark; green tourmaline bracelet by Erica Courtney
Bottom Right: 18kt yellow gold bezel set diamond pendant by Underwood Jewelers

Band Together with Jewelers Mutual

shutterstock_304744727-ringJewelers Mutual Insurance Company wants you to help decide how to spend a record-breaking $2 million it will donate to three important causes this summer: health, home and hunger. As part of its “Band Together” campaign, Jewelers Mutual is inviting you, the jewelry industry, and the public to help by voting online for your nonprofit of choice.

From now until July 31, 2016, you may cast a vote daily at JewelersMutual.com/BandTogether for either Habitat for Humanity®, Feeding America® and Food Banks Canada, or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®. At the end of the campaign, each nonprofit will receive a portion of the $2 million donation based on the number of votes it receives.

For everyone who casts votes, the campaign offers an extra incentive beyond the chance to help your favorite nonprofit. Every individual who answers the call to “Band Together” online will be eligible to win a set of three stacking bands from Stacked New York. Over the duration of the campaign, Jewelers Mutual is giving away three of their exquisite sets. Winning participants will be randomly selected at the end of each week of voting.

The charitable cause that receives the most votes by the end of July will receive the $1 million grand prize from Jewelers Mutual. The runner-up will get $700,000 and $300,000 will go to the third-place winner.

“Band Together” with Jewelers Mutual to make the world a better place by voting today!

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Tips from Jewelers Mutual: How Much Should an Engagement Ring Cost?

wedding engagement with diamond ring

Whenever you gaze upon the sparkling engagement ring on your fiancée’s finger, you should be excited about the plans you two have for the future. Those plans should not include making continual payments on that engagement ring. Before making one of the most expensive jewelry purchases you may possibly make in your life, do some research and be aware of what you’re spending.

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company gives their advice on how much an engagement ring should cost and how to fit it into your budget. Learn more by reading their blog,  How Much Should an Engagement Ring Cost?

Get Ready for Rubies!

For those born in July, the ruby—the king of precious stones—is your birthstone.

Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum, colored by the element chromium. All other colors of gem-quality corundum are called sapphire, which means color is key for this royal stone.

The chromium that gives ruby its red color also causes fluorescence, which makes rubies glow like a fire from within. Paradoxically, chromium is also what makes this gem scarce because it can cause cracks and fissures. Few rubies actually grow large enough to crystallize into fine quality gems, and these can bring even higher prices than diamonds.

Accordingly, the name “ruby” comes from rubeus, the Latin word for red. In ancient Sanskrit, ruby translated to ratnaraj, which meant “king of precious stones.” These fiery gems have been treasured throughout history for their vitality.

Tough and durable, ruby measures 9 on the Mohs scale. Diamond is the only natural gemstone harder than ruby. Ruby’s strength and red fluorescence make it valuable for applications beyond jewelry. Both natural and synthetic rubies are used in watchmaking, medical instruments and lasers.

Due to its deep red color, ruby has long been associated with the life force and vitality of blood. It is believed to amplify energy, heighten awareness, promote courage and bring success in wealth, love and battle. Many cultures regard the ruby as a symbol of love and passion, and have long been considered the perfect wedding gem.

Rubies make wonderful gifts for a July baby, or anyone marking an important milestone, like a 15th or 40th wedding anniversary. If you’re in search of rubies as a gift or to add to your jewelry wardrobe, visit our Find a Jeweler search for an AGS credentialed jeweler near you.

In the meantime, relish in these stunning designs featuring the ravishing ruby!


Gregg Ruth

GreggRuth-Pendant

The Tropez Pendant by Gregg Ruth features 2.48Cts of rubies and 0.20Cts of white diamonds.


Armadani

Armadani-rubyearrings

Armadani designed these lovely ruby and diamond flowers studs set in 18k white gold.


Michael Schofield

MichaelSchofield-RubyPin

Michael Schofield designed this fantastic brooch of rubies and diamonds set in 18k white gold.


Lika Behar

LikaBehar-RubyPendant

The Rosalie Necklace by Lika Behar features a rose cut ruby slice surrounded by champagne diamonds, and set in 24k gold and oxidized silver.


AG Gems

AGGems-RubyEarrings

These earrings by AG Gems feature marquise, cushion and round cut rubies cascading down 18k yellow gold swirls set with diamonds.


OMI Privé

OmiPrive-bracelet

OMI Prive designed this exquisitely detailed ruby and diamond bracelet, set in platinum with 18k yellow gold.


Christopher Designs

ChristopherDesigns-rubyring

The ruby in this ring design by Christopher Designs is 3.64ct, surrounded by 1.02ct Crisscut Round diamonds.