The Month of Gift-Giving

December has finally arrived and we have a month filled with celebrations and life-long traditions to look forward to. One of those holiday traditions is gift-giving, which we can all relate to the challenge of finding the perfect gift for a loved one.

Each of the three main holidays celebrated this month—Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa—have their own special traditions on how and when to exchange gifts.

Hanukkah: December 13-20, 2017

Hanukkah is celebrated for eight consecutive evenings but that doesn’t mean everyone gets a gift each night. In lieu of presents, some families mix in a game night, go to a movie or special event, or simply spend quality time together. Often there is one night reserved for that very special gift. Here are a few ideas!

 

Christmas: December 25, 2017

Christmas is as diverse as the many countries that celebrate it, which means the traditions, decorations, foods, and presentation of the presents vary. No matter where Christmas is celebrated, it’s always about connecting with family and friends. Which of these gifts do you hope to find under the Christmas tree?

 

Kwanzaa: December 26, 2017-January 1, 2018

Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration that centers on culture and family. Each day is associated with a symbol, such as Mazao, crops that “symbolize work and the basis of the holiday,” or Zawadi, which are “meaningful gifts to encourage growth, self-determination, achievement, and success.” On the last day of Kwanzaa, called Imani, gifts are exchanged, often honoring the creative spirit and to reaffirm self-worth. Below are some ideas for someone you know with a creative soul.

 

Perhaps some of the beautiful pieces above have given you some inspiration? When you are ready to shop, be sure to visit an American Gem Society (AGS) credentialed jeweler.  The American Gem Society wishes you and your loved ones the happiest of holidays, and may the new year bring some wonderful (and perhaps sparkly) surprises your way!

Four Fun Jewelry Trends for the Holidays and Beyond

It’s that time of year when we start thinking of those near and dear and begin to research some gifts for the holidays. Because we love fine jewelry so much, we’ve come up with a few ideas just for you! These lovely items are hot for the holidays and beyond. That’s the beauty of fine jewelry: it makes a gift that keeps on giving for generations to come!

Layer the Love

Whether it’s rings, bracelets, or necklaces, combining and layering two or more at a time is a wonderful way to display your favorite pieces. These make a great gift because you can add to the collection over time.

Personal Pendants Have Personality

The personalized pendant made its comeback when Carrie Bradshaw proudly wore her “Carrie” pendant on Sex in the City. If you don’t want to wear your name on your neck, there are plenty of special pendants that help show off your personality, plus they look lovely in layers! Ask your jeweler about helping you customize a pendant.

Essentials for the Ears

Take a look at anyone’s earring collection, and you’re bound to find several pairs of studs. They are a necessity! But what about the other essentials for the ears, like hoops, huggies, and even ear climbers? Here are a few to add to the wishlist!

She’ll Long for Long Earrings

Once the earring essentials are covered, how about adding a few fun and fashionable long earrings. These pretty pairs can be taken from daytime to nighttime. If you’re looking to make a statement, pick a pair with cascading color or dangling diamonds!

 

We hope these ideas (and hints) will give you a good start on your holiday shopping. Be sure to shop with a trusted jeweler. Click here to find an AGS-credentialed jeweler near you.

Ignite Your Passion for Purple!

Amethyst is a violet variety of crystal quartz. Macro Texture purple crystals.For some, the color purple calms the mind and nerves. It encourages creativity and offers a sense of spirituality. It can signify royalty, virtue and faith, wealth and position, and courage. Purple unites the “wisdom” of blue and the “love” of red. It’s the distinguishable color of February’s birthstone, amethyst, which seems quite apropos for a month often associated with love and passion!

Amethyst is a purple quartz exhibiting a beautiful blend of violet and red that can be found all over the world, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Zambia. The name comes from the Ancient Greek, derived from the word “methustos,” which means “intoxicated.” Ancient wearers believed the gemstone could protect them from drunkenness.

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 leans more towards blue or red, depending on the light. Sometimes, even the same stone can have layers or color variants, so the way the gemstone is cut is important to the way the color shows in a finished piece.

Today, many wearers simply prize the amethyst for its beautiful shade and the way it complements both warm and cool colors. Below you’ll find designs by our AGS members which feature the amazing amethyst. Click on the image to get a closer look.

Have any of these designs ignited your passion for the peaceful purple quartz? If you are in search of fine jewelry featuring amethyst—or if you’d like someone to design a special piece for you—get in contact with a jeweler you can trust. Search for an AGS jeweler near you, https://www.americangemsociety.org/en/find-a-jeweler.

Election Day Sparkle

It’s election day in the USA! Months of election coverage culminates as America heads to the polls. We wanted to pay tribute to this important occasion in our own way: with red, white and blue jewelry designs from members of the American Gem Society (AGS). These beautiful pieces get our vote!

Red

Let’s begin with some bright and cheery red gemstones. Rubies naturally come to mind, but when it comes to red hues—there are many varieties of gemstones to choose from.

Jeffrey Daniels Unique Designs

jeffreydaniels-rubellite

A triangular rubellite set in 18k hammered gold, framed by bead set diamonds.


Supreme Jewelry

supreme-garnet

A red garnet pendant set in 18k rose gold framed by white diamonds.

United Color Gems

unitedcolorgems-red-spinel

Oval shaped red spinel earrings set in 18k white gold with white diamonds.

White

The color white has long stood for innocence, purity…and a color you’re not supposed to wear after Labor Day. But we all know diamonds and pearls can be worn any season!

Spark Creations

sparkcreations-diamond

These diamond earring jackets will give a simple diamond stud a little more oomph.

Honora

honora-pearls

The perfect balance between modern and feminine. White freshwater cultured pearls and sterling silver bracelet.

Caro 74

caro74-diamonds

Floral diamond pendant with a diamond bale, set in 14k white gold.

Blue

We can thank Mother Nature for some truly beautiful, truly blue gemstones! Be true blue with these wonderful designs!

Armadani

armadani-starsapphire

Star sapphire cabochon halo ring with round brilliant diamonds.

Carelle

carelle-tanzanite

Tanzanite Round Stack earrings in 18k yellow gold.

JB Star

A Passion for Precision.. A Labor of Love

Platinum pendant featuring a round diamond center encircled with perfectly matched round sapphires and pave accents.

No matter how you vote, when you choose to shop with a trusted AGS jeweler, you’re voting for a winner! Click here to search for an AGS jeweler near you.

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.

MichaelSchofield

Yellow sapphire and diamond earrings by Michael Schofield & Co.

 

 

Setaré

Setare

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

RicardoBasta-Lilac

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

 

 

Suna Bros.

Suna-StarSapphire

Star sapphire surrounded by diamonds, designed by Suna Bros.

 

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.