California Wildfires and Louisiana Floods: What can you do to Help?

Unit and concord in multiethnic team, all hands togetherThe Blue Cut wildfires in Southern California and the recent flooding in Louisiana have raised concerns among our American Gem Society (AGS) members, industry peers, family, and friends.

This outflow of concern prompted us to compile a list of organizations that are requesting goods or monetary donations for the affected areas, and we’d like to share this list with you. If you’d like to help, please visit the following websites and feel free to pass this information on to others.

CALIFORNIA

American Red Cross – Desert to the Sea Region: This helpful website answers questions about how you can best help victims of the Blue Cut fire, http://www.redcross.org/local/california/desert-to-the-sea/wildfire-response.

Animal Shelters: The Apple Valley Animal Shelter, Devore Animal Shelter or the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville are in need of donations. Please contact them directly to find out what they need the most.

LOUISIANA

American Red Cross: Accepting donations via telephone. Call 1-800-REDCROSS or text LAFLOODS to 90999 to donate $10.

United Way: There are three branches that are accepting donations in Louisiana.

Baton Rouge Area Foundation: The Baton Rouge Area Foundation is doing great work for those affected by the floods in Louisiana. The Foundation has dispatched staff members across the Baton Rouge region to determine where needs are the greatest. If you would like to donate to the fund, please visit their website at www.braf.org.

Companion Animal Alliance: Baton Rouge’s city animal shelter. They need foster homes to house pets temporarily, large bath towels, paper towels, water and food for volunteers and staff. Donations can be made online to assist with these needs by going to the organization’s website, www.CAABR.org.

Denham Springs Animal Shelter: This shelter was devastated by the floods. They are accepting donations via a GoFundMe account, which PetCo is matching dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000.

232-HELP: Accepting donations to help purchase emergency medications, medical equipment, appliances and transportation for flood victims in 10 parishes across Acadiana. Donations can be made online.

NOLA Pay it Forward: The Greater New Orleans Foundation is collecting donations to aid neighboring parishes in early relief and rebuilding efforts. Learn more here, https://www.gnof.org/nolapayitforward/.

Visit Nola.com to see more organizations that are accepting donations.

 

Tips from Jewelers Mutual: How Much Does it Cost to Resize a Ring?

couple-admiring-ring-1100 (1)To resize or not to resize, that is the question. If you do decide to resize, how much should it cost? It all depends on the process; the metals needed, the thickness of the band, and whether or not stones will be added.

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company defines the factors to consider when planning to take your ring size up or down a notch. Learn more by reading their blog, How Much Does it Cost to Resize a Ring?

The Six Steps Towards a Secure AGS Laboratories Diamond Grading Report

Platinum2016SAMPLEBeing a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to the mission of consumer protection, AGS Laboratories takes the security of their diamond grading reports very seriously.

If you have an AGS Laboratories diamond grading report, take a close look at it. Have you ever noticed any of the security features? Some are apparent and some are hidden. We feel you should know about the six security steps AGS Laboratories has taken to ensure the authenticity and security of your diamond grading report.

#1 – Paper

Just like U.S. currency, the paper used to create your diamond grading report is tracked and signed in and out. When documents need to be printed, the paper is taken from its secure location, counted, and then signed out. Once printed, it’s counted again. The amount of paper that was originally signed out must match the amount that was printed.

If a document is misprinted, it will be securely discarded. This action must be added to the report, that way the destroyed document isn’t recorded as missing.

#2 – Hologram

hologramEach document contains a special hologram unique to AGS Laboratories. Like the paper, these holograms are counted, signed in and signed out. It also contains its own security feature: if you try to peel it off, it becomes illegible and cannot be reapplied.

 

#3 – Barcode

Each document has its own unique barcode, which is just one more way the security of your document is reinforced.

barcode

#4 – QR Code

QR-codeAt the top of each document appears a Quick Response (QR) code, which can be scanned with any QR app found on a smartphone or tablet. The QR code ties in with the AGS number and barcode found on each document. If the algorithm within the QR code verifies that both numbers match in our database, it will connect to the report verification page on the AGS.org and agslab.com websites.

AGS Laboratories is the first to have both a barcode and a QR code on laboratory documents.

#5 – Unifraction Embossing

unifractionOn the reverse side of the document, you will see something that looks like a hologram but is, in fact, a proprietary security mark woven into the paper. Examples of unifraction embossing can be found on some foreign currency.

#6 – Lamination

The lamination on your document keeps it looking like new. It protects against damage from liquids, the transfer of oils from our skin, paper-loving vermin, and the general wear and tear of time. It’s also bonded to the document; if one attempts to peel it off, it will destroy the document, removing ink in the process.

Ensuring Your Protection

So, there you have it: the six security features on your AGS Laboratories diamond grading report. These six features can only be found on full and half page documents. Go ahead and count them. Scan the QR code. Be confident you have an authentic and secure document in your hands.

We know shopping for a diamond or diamond jewelry is a big investment, and at times can be intimidating. Always ask for an AGS Laboratories Diamond Grading Report to help you make an informed purchase. And, be sure to shop with an American Gem Society credentialed jeweler. They will explain your desired diamond’s AGS Laboratories Diamond Grading Report, as well as tell you about the qualities and characteristics that make your diamond unique.

To begin your search for an AGS credentialed jeweler, visit Find a Jeweler. Get social with AGS Laboratories on Facebook (www.facebook.com/agslabs) and Twitter (@AGSLabs).

Out of the Vault: Clarity Rarities

In the 4Cs of diamond grading, clarity is definitely an intriguing characteristic. What exactly is clarity? Diamonds can have internal characteristics known as inclusions or external characteristics known as blemishes. Clarity refers to the degree of these characteristics. As you can imagine, the gemologists at AGS Laboratories sometimes come across diamonds with very unusual clarity characteristics.

Here are two of these clarity wonders.

The first is one the AGS Laboratories’ gemologists have nicknamed, “The Happy Face.” Look at the white spots just to the left of the diamond’s center in what is known as the Table Facet. This photo was taken at 30x magnification with a  microscope.

smiley face _30x

Next up is another favorite of the gemologists at AGS Laboratories. They call it, “Hummingbird.” This image is at 50% magnification. Look at the top right part of the diamond and you’ll see a winged crystal figure.

Hummingbird_50x

In grading diamonds, the gemologists at AGS Laboratories use their expertise to analyze the size, nature, number, location, and relief of the inclusions and blemishes to decide what clarity grade is most appropriate for a diamond. 

Interesting note: blemishes typically have less impact on the clarity of a diamond than inclusions.

To learn more about diamond grading, clarity, and AGS Laboratories, click here. To find a jeweler who carries AGS Laboratories diamond grading reports, click here. AGS Laboratories is the only nonprofit diamond grading lab created with a mission of consumer protection.