The Merry Month of May

By Isabelle Corvin, CG, Staff Gemologist at Panowicz Jewelers.

“O, the month of May, the merry month of May, So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green!” – Thomas Dekker, Author, (c. 1572–1632).

May is truly the month that really feels like spring, and what better gemstone to have as the birthstone of this blossoming month than an emerald?

 

There’s no other stone that can match the lush, vibrant greens of emerald, truly a springtime favorite. In fact, some people believe the emerald symbolizes renewal and goodness, and that it is a stone that will increase a couple’s love for each other.

The color of lovely springtime emerald can vary in all hues of green, sometimes with a tinge of yellow and others leaning towards the blue-greens. These stones can be light and airy, or deep and dark, and everything in between.

 

Not only that, but it can be highly saturated with this earthy color, making it bright and energetic, just like this time of year.

Emeralds have been prized gems throughout history. Egyptians used the stones for many purposes and claimed a magic slab of the gemstone had “all knowledge” engraved on it. In India, there’s a myth that tells of a firefly that crystallized into an emerald. The Aztecs likened the beautiful color to the plumes of god-like birds.

Those of you who own an emerald (or desire to have one!) are in good company; emeralds were Cleopatra’s favorite gemstone.

 

Emeralds are to be worn with care since they are a softer gemstone than others. But with proper treatment, these stones will last a lifetime.

Emeralds are mined in many locations around the world, from the famous mines in Colombia to the newer mines in Zambia, to others. The finest Colombian emeralds are delightfully bluish-green, richly saturated and stunningly clear.

This spring, while we watch the flowers bloom and the trees sprout, don’t forget your May babies—or their beautiful birthstone, emerald!

Jewelry images by credentialed AGS members. Visit ags.org/findajeweler to find an AGS jeweler near you.

 

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Isabelle Corvin is an AGS Certified Gemologist (CG) who is the Staff Gemologist at Panowicz Jewelers. Since she was 14-years-old, she knew she wanted to be a gemologist. Ms. Corvin also writes for Panowicz Jewelers’ blog.

Celebrate the Woman Who Means Everything

By Robin Skibicki

“Being a mother is about learning about strengths you didn’t know you had and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.” – Linda Wooten, author.

When I was 9 years old, I asked my Mom on Mother’s Day why there isn’t a Children’s Day. Without hesitation, she responded in a kind but firm voice, “Honey, EVERY DAY is Children’s Day.” I knew that tone and I also detected that wasn’t the best question to ask at that moment.

Now that I’m a mom, I get it! In fact, I believe mothers truly need more than one day a year to call their own. How about once a month? The list of gratitude towards our mothers can be infinite, from the little things, like kissing a “boo-boo,” to jumping in with all her heart and soul to help us through a rough situation.

Nowadays, we realize that Mother’s Day isn’t just about mothers. The holiday extends to celebrate all the incredible women who have made significant contributions in our lives, helping us become who we are today. She can be a stepmom, mother-in-law, grandmother, daughter, daughter-in-law, aunt, sister, cousin, friend, teacher, or mentor.

If you are looking for a gift that is beyond special and significant for a fabulous female in your life, consider fine jewelry. They’re not only gifts that will make her smile (possibly with a glistening tear in her eye) once she opens it, but each day she wears it. She will treasure it for years to come and it will ultimately become a cherished heirloom.

The credentialed members of the American Gem Society (AGS) have got you covered for Mother’s Day. Here are a few ideas to get you started. If there is a design you like or have an idea of your own, contact an AGS jeweler near you!

Bring on Spring: Be Inspired by the Colors of the Season

“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” – William Shakespeare

Now that spring has arrived, we look forward to the signs of renewal. From fastidiously cleaning our homes and joyously changing out our wardrobe to reconnecting with family and friends for a spring holiday or wedding. It’s easy to love this time of year!

Even our jewelry is complementing the seasonal spectrums, with soft pastels and bright, happy colors. Here are some spring-inspired styles from a few of our American Gem Society (AGS) members.

 

We’ve all got that extra spring in our step thanks to the warmer weather and the chance to don the colors of the season in our homes, wardrobe, and fine jewelry! Search for an AGS-credentialed jeweler near you and they’ll help you find the perfect piece for any springtime occasion.

Aquamarine: the Cure for the Madness of March

Historically speaking, March is an unusual month. It’s a time of transition, from winter blues to the summertime blue of swimming pools. It’s a windy month, too, and the weather can be fickle as one day is cold and the next is warm. It’s supposed to be the first month of spring, but sometimes it feels like the final month of winter.

Even literature has a conflicted relationship with the month. Shakespeare warned Caesar to “Beware the ides of March” in his eponymous play, “Julius Caesar.”

Despite the ups and downs of March, there is one bright, shining and beautiful factor. Aquamarine.

It’s a word which evokes the sea.

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Beautiful aquamarine gems. Courtesy of Suna Bros.

Aquamarine is most often light in tone and ranges from greenish blue to blue-green; the color usually is more intense in larger stones, and darker blue stones are very valuable. This gemstone is mined mainly in Brazil but also is found in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique.

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Aquamarine and diamond ring from Suna Bros.

Like emeralds, this gemstone is a variety of a mineral called beryl. Large stones have been found all over the world, including one stone found in Brazil that weighed over 240 pounds. Aquamarine grows in large, six-sided crystals that can be up to a foot long, making it a great gem to be cut and polished in larger carats for statement pieces.

Not only is aquamarine one of the March birthstones, it’s also used to celebrate 19th wedding anniversaries. It’s a beautiful stone with little or no yellow in it, so it looks great in many settings with different colored metals and gemstones.

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Opal pendant surrounded by aquamarine and diamonds. From Yael Designs.

First, visit an AGS jeweler, who will be happy to help you pick out the perfect piece. Next, look at the stone’s cut. Since aquamarine can be very lightly colored (and sometimes appear almost colorless), the cut is very important to the overall appearance of the stone and how saturated, or even, the color appears.

Of course, choose the color that most appeals to you, however, it’s generally accepted that lighter colored aquamarines are less valuable than the stronger, deeper hues of blue or blue-green.

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Aquamarine and diamonds in a gold setting.
From Erica Courtney Jewelry

Next, take a look at the stone’s clarity. Most cut gems do not have inclusions that are visible to the eye, and some rarer or more expensive aquamarines are available without visible inclusions, as well.

Since aquamarine crystals can grow to be quite large, larger cut gemstones are possible to purchase as a part of beautiful statement pieces. While you may not be looking to buy in that range, even smaller aquamarines make for lovely solitaires or companion jewels in larger pieces.

Ready to see aquamarine up-close and in person? Find an AGS Jewler here. Just don’t forget to bring your jacket. . . or not. It’s March, after all. Who knows what the weather will be like?

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!