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.

August is Romance Awareness Month!

By Amanda L. Colborn

Even though the American Gem Society is a professional organization dedicated to credentialing jewelers and consumer protection, we understand that one of the biggest reasons people give jewelry is to show their love. And we love…..well, love! So this blog is a celebration of romance, and lucky for us, August is National Romance month.  So we thought we’d take the opportunity to celebrate Romance Awareness Month in all its glory, and hopefully inspire you to remember to add some romance to your life as well.

Ring by Hearts on Fire

Ring by Hearts on Fire

The online dating site, Zoosk, conducted an annual Romance Awareness Survey. From the survey results, it should come as no surprise that 81% of women and 69% of men surveyed, believe that women are more romantic than men.

What MAY surprise you is that Valentine’s Day, at 19%, ranked lower on the romance scale than an anniversary, at 57%, and even a first date which came in at 24%. First impressions really do go a long way!

Jewelry from Supreme Jewelry

Jewelry from Supreme Jewelry

For the singles out there, you’re not alone. Most single people are completely underwhelmed by the amount of romance in their life. 73% of single men and 80% of single women surveyed say they are were unhappy in the romance department.

But couples aren’t completely satisfied either — see! The grass isn’t always greener as 60% of men and 66% of women say that they would not stay in a relationship with a partner they deemed was unromantic or not romantic enough.

So how can you add more romance to your life?

Well, for singles, the good news is that a lot of single people are looking for more romance in their lives. So if you’re considering approaching the lady checking out the produce at the grocery store, or standing behind you in line at the bank; smile and confidently say, “Hello.” Believe it or not, you feel more confident smiling (even on the telephone) than you do with a straight face. You’ll come across happier and don’t be surprised if a few other heads turn as well.

And don’t forget that best first date impression!

For couples, adding a little romance to your everyday life can actually be quite easy.

Romance experts suggest ideas as simple as:

  • A promise ring or other piece of fine jewelry, personalized for your partner
  • A simple compliment goes a long way. Tell your partner something you’ve secretly been admiring about them for a long time.
  • Send a romantic text in the middle of their mundane work day.
  • Plan a staycation! A weekend at home or in a local Bed & Breakfast, just the two of you.
  • Write a letter. Something so old-fashioned and simple can have lasting effects! For inspiration, check out some famous love letters written by well-known idols, click here.
Earrings by Ritani

Earrings by Ritani

Conclusively, Romance Awareness month offers you an opportunity to break from your romance rut and it’s a helpful reminder to show the one you love (even if it’s yourself!) how important adding a little romance to your life can be. Enjoy!

 

Happy Birthday August!

By Amanda L Colborn

With tomorrow marking the first day of August, we’d like to wish all the August babies a happy birthday! You have two special birthstones associated with the month of August. Both of which are not only unique and beautiful, but very representative of power and courage. Read on to learn more about the birthstones of August, peridot and sardonyx.

Peridot

Peridot is said to host magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares and to bring the wearer power, influence, and a wonderful year.

As peridot is a gemstone that forms deep inside the Earth and brought to the surface by volcanoes, in Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes.

Today, most of the peridot supply comes from Arizona; other sources are China, Myanmar, and Pakistan.  This gemstone comes in several color variations ranging from yellowish green to brown, but most consumers are attracted to the bright lime greens and olive greens.  Peridot, in smaller sizes, often is used in beaded necklaces and bracelets.

14K yellow gold, peridot and diamond earrings from Parlé Jewelry Design

14K yellow gold, peridot and diamond earrings from Parlé Jewelry Design

Sardonyx

Sardonyx is a form of onyx and is recognized by its layers of reddish brown and white banding.

It was popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans who carried into battle talismans of sardonyx engraved with images of heroes such as Mars or Hercules, believing that this would bring courage and victory.

Because of its attractive banding, sardonyx has long been used to fashion cameos (carved raised figures) and intaglios (the reverse of cameos).  This gemstone is found throughout the world.  The most attractive specimens are found in India, but material also is mined in Czechoslovakia, Brazil, Uruguay, Germany, and in the United States.

14k yellow gold filigree ring circa 1950 from Stanley Jewelers Gemologist, Little Rock, AK

14k yellow gold filigree ring circa 1950 from Stanley Jewelers Gemologist; Little Rock, AR

To all of those celebrating birthdays in August, we wish you a very happy birthday. And to everyone, we wish you a very happy August. If you’d like to learn more about any month’s birthstone, click here.