October’s Birthstones are Bursting with Color

octoberbirthstonesOctober features two incredible birthstones: opal and tourmaline. They each display an exciting and intense array of colors, making them popular choices for jewelry designers and collectors.

Opal

The name “opal” derives from the Greek Opallos, meaning “to see a change (of color).” They range in color from milky white to black with flashes of yellow, orange, green, red, and blue. An opal’s beauty is the product of contrast between its color play and its background.

Opal is a formation of non-crystalline silica gel that seeped into crevices in the sedimentary strata. Through time and nature’s heating and molding processes, the gel hardened into the form of opals. The opal is composed of particles closely packed in spherical arrangements. When packed together in a regular pattern, a three-dimensional array of spaces is created that gives opal its radiance.

Approximately 90 percent of the world’s precious opal comes from Australia. The following are other countries that produce precious or fancy varieties: Brazil, Mexico, United States, Hungary, Peru, Indonesia, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Ethiopia.

Like fingerprints, each opal is totally unique! To get a really good look at the opals in these designs, click on the images below for a larger view.

Lightning Ridge Collection

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Blue-green black opal accented by fine white princess cut diamonds and round brilliant cut diamonds.

 

Lika Behar Collection

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Sterling silver and 24k gold “Ocean” necklace, featuring a one-of-a-kind boulder opal framed by diamonds.

 

Parlé

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Australian black opal and diamond earrings set in 18k yellow gold.

 

Yael Designs

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An 18k rose gold bracelet featuring rose cut fire opals and brilliant cut white round diamonds.

 

Tourmaline

Since tourmaline is available in a wide variety of colors, it is ideally suited to almost anyone’s taste. It is known for displaying several colors in the same gemstone. These bi-color or tri-color gems are formed in many combinations; the gemstones with clear color distinctions are highly prized.

One multi-color variety is known as watermelon tourmaline and features green, pink, and white colors bands. To resemble its namesake, the gemstone is cut into thin slices having a pink center, white ring, and green edge.

Tourmaline is found in many localities including Brazil, Afghanistan, East Africa, and the USA.

The following designs feature the varying hues of tourmaline. Click on the images to see a larger view.

 

Erica Courtney

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“Rain Drop” 18k yellow gold studs featuring
Paraíba tourmaline accented with diamonds.

 

Supreme Jewelry

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This unique ring displays a butterfly fluttering around petals of  sliced tourmaline, framed by diamonds.

 

Omi Privé

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A cushion cut pink tourmaline and diamonds are set in platinum and 18k rose gold.

 

Crevoshay

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“California Dreaming” is an 18k gold pendant artfully displaying the many colors and varieties of tourmaline.

On behalf of everyone at AGS, we send our best wishes to those celebrating a birthday or anniversary in the month of October!

If you are shopping for opal or tourmaline jewelry, search for an AGS credentialed jeweler near you: www.americangemsociety.org/en/find-a-jeweler.

 

Stars and Diamonds Sparkle at the 2016 Emmy® Awards

Every awards show brings out the most glamorous people, wearing the most incredible fashions, adorned in the most sparkling jewels. This year’s 68th Emmy Awards was dripping with diamonds, which goes to show that diamonds continue to be the trend on the red carpet.

Scroll down to see Hollywood’s hottest wearing designs from a few American Gem Society (AGS) members!

Forevermark
Actresses Sophia Turner, Claire Danes, and Tatiana Maslany
wore timeless designs featuring Forevermark diamonds.

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Hearts On Fire
Niecy Nash is on fire wearing several Hearts On Fire bracelets.

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Harry Kotlar
Ariel Winter wore a magnificent Harry Kotlar diamond ring.

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Underwood’s Fine Jewelers
Natalie Morales is wearing their natural, multi-colored diamond bracelet.

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You certainly don’t have to appear on the small—or big screen—in order to wear diamonds! Visit an AGS jeweler near you and they will help you find that perfect diamond. Be sure to ask your jeweler for an AGS Laboratories Diamond Grading Report. Accept no substitutes—buy your diamond with confidence!

 

Tips from Jewelers Mutual: How to Take the Perfect Engagement Ring Selfie

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You’ve just gotten engaged. What are you going to do next? The excited bride-to-be used to jump on the phone and call everyone she knows. These days, she jumps on her phone and posts the news on social media. But if you’re going to take a photo of that perfect diamond, make sure you catch it in the best light.

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company has three tips on how to get the best selfie of that sparkler. Learn more by reading their blog, 3 Tips for the Perfect Engagement Ring Selfie.

Out of the Vault: More Clarity Rarities

The gemologists at AGS Laboratories often come across diamonds that display some very unusual clarity characteristics. These rarities confirm Mother Nature’s ability to be both humorous and creative, as seen in our first “Out of the Vault: Clarity Rarities” blog.

The next set of these clarity curiosities displays colorful crystal inclusions, which are internal characteristics of a diamond. These inclusions usually form in a diamond as a result of the tremendous heat and pressure deep within the earth where they form. Inclusions can also be created by a diamond’s violent journey to the earth’s surface caused by volcanic eruptions.

Since many inclusions and blemishes are very small, and can be difficult to see with the naked eye, they are graded at 10x magnification. Grading at 10x is an industry standard to determine the final clarity grade of the diamond.

This photo was taken at 40x magnification of a green crystal inclusion within the diamond.

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Next is a purple crystal inclusion, taken at 20x magnification.

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Diamond graders plot the inclusions they see in the diamond on a diagram which is included on AGS diamond grading reports. See how AGS Laboratories’ diamond graders plot diamonds.

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.

Ask your jeweler for an AGS Laboratories Diamond Grading Report. Accept no substitutes, and buy your diamond with confidence!

September is for Sapphires

sapphiremulti003As we turn our calendars to September, we start thinking of things like heading back to school, indulging in a pumpkin spice latte, and planning our fall fashions. For those celebrating a birthday in September, they’re thinking of their birthstone: the sapphire!

Although sapphire typically refers to the rich blue gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, this royal gem actually occurs in a rainbow of hues. Sapphires come in every color except red, which would then be classified as ruby.

Trace elements like iron, titanium, chromium, copper and magnesium give naturally colorless corundum a tint of blue, yellow, purple, orange or green, respectively. Sapphires in any color but blue are called “fancies.”

Pink sapphires, in particular, tow a fine line between ruby and sapphire. In the U.S., these gems must meet a minimum color saturation to be considered rubies. Pinkish orange sapphires called padparadscha (from the Sri Lankan word for “lotus flower”) can actually draw higher prices than some blue sapphires.

Due to the remarkable hardness of sapphires—which measure 9 on the Mohs scale, second only to diamond—they aren’t just valuable in jewelry, but also in industrial applications including scientific instruments, high-durability windows, watches, and electronics.

Sapphires make stunning gifts for anyone born in September or celebrating a 5th or 45th wedding anniversary, so be sure to visit an AGS jeweler. They will help you find that perfect gift, whether you’re seeking the classic blue or another shade from the sapphire rainbow.

Need some inspiration? View this collection of designs featuring the sapphire!

Carelle

Carelle

The Whirl Sapphire Bangle by Carelle is 18k yellow gold with 1.06ct sapphire.

 

 

Michael Schofield & Co.

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Yellow sapphire and diamond earrings by Michael Schofield & Co.

 

 

Setaré

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Sri Lankan sapphire earrings mounted in platinum and framed by diamonds, by Setaré.

 

 

Yael Designs

Yael

Yael Designs’ two-tone 18k gold pendant featuring a 1.59 carat pink sapphire, framed by pink sapphires and ideal cut diamonds.

 

Gumuchian

Gumuchian

Gumuchian’s Cloud 9 earrings are 18kt white gold set with blue sapphires and diamonds.

 

 

Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry

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Lilac sapphire ring designed by Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry. It’s surrounded by two diamonds and set in platinum.

 

 

Suna Bros.

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Star sapphire surrounded by diamonds, designed by Suna Bros.