For the Love of Amethyst

February is here: the month of love, and a much-loved birthstone, amethyst. Amethyst is purple quartz that exhibits a beautiful blend of violet and red that can be found in every corner of the earth. Recently, Pantone has placed amethyst (and other purple-hued gemstones) in the spotlight by naming UltraViolet the 2018 Pantone Color of the Year.

It has been associated with many myths, legends, religions, and numerous cultures. Some historical accounts say that Saint Valentine had an amethyst ring carved with an image of Cupid. How apropos!

While amethyst is most commonly recognized to be a purple color, the gemstone can actually range from a light pinkish violet to a deep purple that can read more blue or red, depending on the light. Sometimes, amethyst exhibits a growth anomaly called zoning, which appears as bands of color that range from lighter to darker, or even colorless.

All the science and stories behind the amethyst can be fascinating, but many wearers have simply fallen in love with its rich and peaceful purple hues. Below are a few designs by AGS members that display amethyst in all its purple majesty!

 

You don’t have to be born in February or celebrating a sixth wedding anniversary to feel some amoré for amethyst. Ask an AGS-credentialed jeweler near you to help pair you with the perfect purple piece of your own!

Garnets – Warm, Strong & Mysterious

By Isabelle Corvin, CG, Staff Gemologist at Panowicz Jewelers

Happy birthday, January babies!

Born the first month of the year, you get to start with a celebration of life. Ignore the dreary weather with a warm garnet as your birthstone!

A somewhat under-appreciated jewel, garnets hold a mystery and allure all their own. A group of closely related species, the garnet family of gems is vast and varied.

  • Everything from classic Pyrope and Almandite; the traditional reds, from dark to light, sometimes slightly brownish, to Rhodolite, a shy little stone with flirty edges of purple added to red
  • Then there are members like cool Tsavorite, the vivid to minty green rebel striking out and being different
  • Demantoid, the fun-loving gem in yellowish-green colors with fire like a diamond
  • Don’t forget Spessartite, the flashy and robust gem of bright orange
  • And Hessanite, a softer, “honey” color, often hiding amid the rest of the group
  • In fact, Garnets come in every shade BUT blue!
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Garnets in a variety of colors by Underwood’s Fine Jewelry.

Throughout history, garnets have been known as stones of warmth, strength, and mystery. The most common color, a deep red, was popular in many cultures and used in a variety of items—not just jewelry.

It was the most popular stone for adornment and inlays in the late Antique Roman period, and a strand of garnet beads was found in an Egyptian tomb dating back some 5,000 years.

It was said to be a stone of valor, that wearing it as an amulet gave someone strength and enhanced bravery. It was also connected with love due to the color, and no surprise, it was associated with the element of fire.

There is a legend that Noah didn’t use lanterns in the Ark—he hung garnets. They were said to glow due to their inner fire and throughout the entire voyage of the ark, stayed lit.

In more modern times, garnets are associated with Capricorn, the zodiac sign, and are believed to help with strengthening both emotions and the physical.

In a more science-based outlook, garnets are used as abrasives in many fields.

Garnets are one of the few gems that display their full, natural color; no treatments are done to enhance or alter them.

Depending upon the type of the garnet, they can be found in many locations around the globe. They usually form in a cubic structure, like squares piled on top of one another.

Garnets are anything but plain or ordinary, and with a wide range of colors to choose from, there’s a member of the family that’s right for everyone. It shines on after years and carries with it ancient history.

It’s a pretty bauble and a treasured talisman. No matter how melancholy the weather may be this time of year, you can rest assure that a garnet will brighten up your day!

The American Gem Society’s Director of Marketing wanted to show off her favorite pieces of jewelry which happen to feature garnet! The earrings and ring were both designed by AGS member, M.J. Christensen.

 

August’s Trio of Distinctive Gemstones

It’s been a year since spinel was added to August’s birthstone line up. Those celebrating a birthday during the eighth calendar month now have three gemstone choices: peridot, sardonyx, and spinel.

Spinel

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Blue spinel by Gem 2000.

For those who are still unfamiliar with spinel, it is often assumed to be other gemstones, like ruby or sapphire.  Cobalt blue, like the one above, is one of the most desired colors. But it can be found in a variety of colors, such as the much coveted red, as well as black, violet blue, greenish blue, grayish, pale pink, mauve, yellow or brown. Spinel can also be found in various cuts, like octagons, trillions, squares, rounds and fancy shapes, like ovals, pears, and cushions.

No matter what the shape, spinel is spectacular! Take a look at these designs by our AGS members. Click on the images for a closer view.

 

Peridot

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Peridot by Gem 2000.

The verdant peridot is the gemstone most commonly associated with August. Peridot’s recognizable green hue could sometimes vary from yellowish-green to olive to brownish green, contingent on how much iron is present. Yet the finest peridot is a brilliant green without any hints of brown or yellow.

Our AGS members will help you find the perfect peridot for you! Click on the images for a closer view.

 

Sardonyx

Sardonyx

Since as far back as Roman times, sardonyx has been highly valued as a stone representing strength, courage, happiness, and clear communication.

The unique reddish, zebra-striped banding of sardonyx stands out beautifully when the stone is smoothed, so it is often cut in cabochon and worn as beads or featured in an eye-catching pendant or ring.

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

If you’d like to add spinel, peridot, or sardonyx to your jewelry wardrobe, contact a credentialed AGS jeweler near you!

Proposal Shaping Up? Consider these Diamond Shapes

By Donna Jolly, RJ

You met the perfect person. You both like the same food, the same music, the same guilty pleasures on Bravo. You like each other’s family and friends. Everything works. It’s just…right.

And so, you’ve come to realize: it’s time to pop THE question.

Before you start Googling the “Perfect Proposal” or looking at YouTube videos of modern day Romeos hijacking Jumbotrons at basketball games, or even tying rings to helium balloons (which fly away…with the ring), get down to the heart of the matter: the ring.

Diamond cutters are not just master craftsmen, they are magicians with a cutting wheel and they create amazingly beautiful shapes. AGS Laboratories pioneered the light performance cut grade for fancy shapes, which means between the diamond cutters and AGS Laboratories, you now have more options of beautiful diamonds to choose from.

If a traditional round brilliant diamond is too, well, traditional, consider one with a different shape. Fancy Shaped or Fancy Cut diamonds (as they are also known) are beautiful and sometimes even more affordable than the traditional round brilliant. They can also come with diamond grading reports so that you can best understand the diamond’s characteristics.

Here are four different cuts to consider when shopping for the perfect ring.

Square

Square often gets a bad rap. Teens in the 60s and 70s told their parents, “Man! You are so square,” as they stomped off to their room. But when it comes to diamonds, square cuts are a bit of a rebel. Next to round brilliant diamonds, they have plenty of sparkle. If your honey has a bit of a wild streak, go square, like this pretty piece from Ashi Diamonds, surrounded by round brilliants in rose gold.

Ashi_Offbeat

Emerald

Emerald cuts are another great alternative. Take this East/West emerald cut from Two by London. A simple halo of round diamonds and diamonds down the shank of the ring make this sparkler a winner.

Emerald Cut East West Two by London

Oval

Ovals are classic diamonds that are just a bit more cheeky than a round brilliant. They say, “I have a classic style, with a bit of an edge.” Just like this stunner from GJS USA.

GJS USA Oval Engagement Ring

Marquis

Oh Marquis, you grand ole’ cut. This shape is perfect for someone who likes glamor, glitz and loves to live OUT LOUD. Try to get over the memory of Carrie Bradshaw rejecting the marquis ring Aiden gave her. It was a different decade and it was fiction. Now check out this piece of art-for-the-finger from Supreme Jewelry. On top of all the other wonderful elements, you have to love the mix of white and rose gold!

Supreme Jewelry marquis

The right ring can be found with a little research and shopping around. One thing the right ring needs, though (besides the right person to give it to) is the right jeweler. Find the perfect jeweler here.

Emeralds and Diamonds: the perfect pair

By Donna Jolly, RJ

When you roam the hallways of the American Gem Society, it’s not unusual to see members of the team staring at images of gorgeous jewelry on their desktop. We work in this industry because we are fans of shiny, pretty things! As jewelry lovers, we can be a little fickle, month to month, as to what our favorite gemstone is.

Yes, we love diamonds. Quite a lot.

Turns out, we love May’s birthstone quite a lot, too: the emerald.

Pair an emerald and a diamond together, and we pretty much have a hard time finding the words to describe how over-the-top in love we are with that striking combination.

But let’s try. And in the process, we’ll show you some of our favorite pieces of emerald and diamond jewelry.

First, a little history on the emerald. This beautiful gemstone was mined in Egypt as early as 330 BC, but some estimate that the oldest emeralds are 2.97 billion years old. Cleopatra had a thing for emeralds. She even claimed ownership of all emerald mines in Egypt during her reign. If the queen could be around today, she would no doubt attempt to expand her reach of this green gift from the earth.

Emeralds, like diamonds, are analyzed according to the 4Cs: color, cut, clarity and carat weight. Rare emeralds are a deep green-blue, while lighter colored gems are more common—and a good choice for those looking for a more affordable alternative.

Now for the good stuff: take a look at this stunning pendant below from JB Star. Marquis shaped emeralds and diamonds surround a square-cut center diamond for a green and white starburst.

Pear Shaped emeralds and Marquite diamonds

Yael Designs is known for creating crazy beautiful colorful jewelry. Here, they show us some marquis magic, blending yellow and white diamonds with emeralds.

Emerald and and diamonds

Supreme Jewelry created this gorgeous pair of diamond chandelier earrings featuring tear-drop shaped emeralds. There is quite a lot to love here. Especially the intricate yet delicate design. Try to imagine this design with another gem in it other than emerald. Would it have the same level of vibrancy?

Emerald and Diamond Chandelier Earrings

Jewelry can represent different things: symbols of love and success, a cause for celebration, a little something extra to make you feel good. If you are in search of fine jewelry, whether it’s an emerald, diamond or another gemstone, shop with a jeweler you trust. It’s step number one in the jewelry-buying process. Find a professional, trusted American Gem Society jeweler here.  To learn more about emeralds and diamonds, click here.

Looking at Diamonds in a Different Light

Diamonds have been celebrated for centuries as a symbol of love and status and have been revered throughout the centuries. No wonder there are literally volumes of references to diamonds in fiction and historical tomes.

Though April is in our rearview mirror, we just can’t quite let go of our favorite gem, and in thinking about our obsession, three thoughts struck us that show how special diamonds really are:

Diamonds are the result of both nature and man. They come from the earth, but diamond cutters, who are skilled artisans, turn diamond rough into beautiful works of art.

Case in point: this masterpiece from Forevermark.

solitaire

Diamonds and plants both need light. Plants need light to live. In a way, so do diamonds. The way light travels through a diamond creates sparkle. A well-cut diamond will have more sparkle than one that is poorly cut. Gemologists often refer to this sparkle as “life.”

A well-cut diamond shimmers with life; that because of the light being returned to the eye! Did you know that cut affects the value of a diamond by as much as 50%? A well-cut diamond will appear larger than one of similar size that is not as finely cut.

This well-cut beauty from Carizza also doubles as a show-stopper!

emerald cut

Diamonds can be a symbol of love, status and even purity . . . they are also a symbol of strength: A diamond forms under tremendous heat and pressure, just like human character! It takes billions of years to form a diamond, and while humans don’t have that luxury of forever, we grow and learn from life’s challenges. It’s no wonder that people celebrate their special moments with diamonds. Diamonds are also the most durable of gems, and measure 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness.

Star Gems demonstrates that while a diamond may be tough, the right design can be soft and downright feminine.

marquis

Ask your American Gem Society jeweler to help you find the perfect diamond. Remember, something as rare and precious as a diamond deserves a report from a well-respected diamond grading laboratory. Ask for one from AGS Laboratories, a nonprofit diamond lab created with the AGS mission of consumer protection and the highest standards of grading. Search for an American Gem Society jeweler near you by clicking here.

April is the Month of Brilliance

JeffreyDaniels

Jeffrey Daniels Unique Designs

The birthstone for April is a gem that’s near and dear to us. It’s the keystone of the American Gem Society logo, and they offer grading reports for this precious gem based on science and accuracy. We’re talking about diamonds.

Diamonds have been admired for centuries, and some historians estimate they were traded as early as four BC. One of the reasons it is so admired and valued is because of the process by which a diamond is formed well below the earth’s crust, then forced upward until it is uncovered. These natural forces are what make each and every diamond unique.

Part of the diamond grading process includes testing the diamond for clarity. This is when the lab determines the relative visibility of the inclusions in a diamond and their impact on the overall visual appearance. Inclusions are the internal or external flaws of the diamond which are a result of the tremendous heat and pressure a diamond is subjected to in its journey to the surface.

The gemologists in the AGS Laboratories have come across some very unusual and rare inclusions, which they call “Clarity Rarities.” Click here to see an example of their most recent find!

Diamonds come in several colors, including yellow, red, pink, blue, and green, and range in intensity from faint to vivid. Generally speaking, the more saturated the color, the higher the value.

AGS Laboratories only grades white diamonds and are the leaders in cut grade. Because of their proprietary light performance cut grade, diamond cutters understand how to cut a more beautiful diamond—which means you have more beautiful, sparkling options when shopping for diamonds!

This is why we love diamonds so much. Their beauty is endless and they never cease to amaze us. But enough talk about diamonds, let’s enjoy these gorgeous designs by some of our AGS members!

 

If you’re celebrating a birthday in April, a 60th anniversary (congratulations!), or love diamonds as much as we do, be sure to contact an AGS-certified jeweler near you. They’ll help you find the diamond of your dreams! And don’t forget to ask for an AGS Laboratories Diamond Grading Report. Accept no substitutes, and buy your diamond with confidence!