The World of Colored Gems

By Gleim the Jeweler

The jeweler allows me to wear the sapphire blue lake on my finger, emerald green leaves around my neck, and take the citrine sunset with me wherever I go. Jewelry has become my daytime link to nature in an office with no windows. And if I have to work late, there’s nothing like diamond stars and a pearl full moon against an onyx night sky.

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“Gossip” emerald cut three stone rings by Goshwara.

This wonderful quotation, by author Astrid Alauda, perfectly expresses the emotional connection that has been provided by colored gemstones for thousands of years.

Fine colored gemstones have been revered throughout history. Gemstones have been imbued with the power to foretell events, strengthen memory, quicken intelligence, ensure purity, avert lightning, prevent intoxication, ensure happiness and are often equated to the fountain of youth.

What Defines a Colored Gemstone?

Colored gemstones are described as all the various gemstones except for diamonds. Only a select few of the vast number of minerals known qualify as gemstones. In order to become a gemstone, the mineral must be rare and beautiful and be durable enough to be worn as jewelry.

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Blue sapphire ring by AG Gems.

Precious vs. Semi-Precious Gems?

In the past, the term “precious” was used to describe diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire. The term “semi-precious” referred to all other gemstones. Today, most jewelers and gemologists agree that these terms no longer accurately reflect the true value of these gems. In particular, some species of colored gems, such as alexandrite or demantoid garnet, are so rare that they have been known to command prices exceeding those of emerald, ruby, and even diamonds.

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Alexandrite and diamond pendant by Omi Privé.

Gemstones generally can be grouped into three major clarity categories:

  1. Gems that are flawless or have very minor inclusions (e.g. aquamarines and amethysts)
  2. Gems that are moderately included (e.g. rubies and sapphires)
  3. Gems that tend to be highly included (e.g. emeralds and red tourmalines)

Color is the single most important deciding factor in determining the value of a gemstone, followed by the cut. The cut of a gemstone is designed to bring out the best possible color or colors in the rough uncut material while retaining as much weight as possible. The color in a fine gem is saturated evenly throughout the stone and is of a brilliant deep, rich, and pleasing color—not too dark and not too light.

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Idolite earrings by Erica Courtney.

Each variety of colored gemstone has a range of highly prized colors that have evolved over the years. Many of these colors are tied to historical sources such as “Burmese” rubies from Burma, “Kashmir” sapphires from India, and “Persian” turquoise. This is by no means a sure bet. Not all rubies from Burma have the “Burmese” signature color and furthermore, you may find a fine color from a ruby that was mined in Thailand.

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Cushion cut Mozambican Ruby ring by Real Gems Inc.

Ultimately the wearer decides what color speaks to them, keeping in mind that this may not be that color defined as being the most valuable. Since we all perceive color differently it’s ultimately a very personal choice.

Today, with the ever-increasing advances in gemstone enhancements and synthetic gemstone production, it is more important than ever to work with a reputable and properly trained jeweler.

About Gleim the Jeweler

We have been serving the Peninsula since 1931 and have been members of the American Gem Society (AGS) since 1954. Our membership with the AGS assures you that we earn and maintain the education necessary to provide you with the most up to date information about gems and their different markets.

We also have American Gem Society Accredited Gem Laboratories, assuring you that we have the proper instruments to identify and grade gems. And, what’s perhaps most important, we love colored gems!

AGS Member Spotlight: ASBA USA, Inc.

ASBA USA, Inc. is a prime supplier of Tahitian cultured pearls and finished diamond, colored stone, and cultured pearl jewelry.

For over 25 years, ASBA USA has been owned and operated by the Israileff family and are long-time members of the American Gem Society. Joshua, Nathan, and Nicolai Israileff carry on their family’s tradition of providing fine quality jewelry.

The following images are just a mere sampling of the artistic, whimsical, and one-of-a-kind designs ASBA USA creates with pearls—their specialty—or a variety of gemstones.

 

If you’d like to see more designs by ASBA USA in person, contact a credentialed AGS jeweler near you.

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!

Tips from Jewelers Mutual: Ring Appraisal—What You Need to Know for Insurance

Jeweler looking at the ring through microscope in a workshop.

When it comes to receiving a ring—whether you are newly engaged, celebrating a birthday, toasting an anniversary, or treasuring an heirloom—you’re probably not thinking about insurance.

When you procure something so precious, for peace of mind, you should consider protecting it. An important step to insuring your ring is to have it appraised.

In the following article, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company covers the most common misconceptions of ring appraisal, tips for getting a good appraisal, and why they are so important. Click here to read more.

The “Other” Famous Jewelry in Movies

By Donna Jolly, RJ

Ask someone which movies stand out as films with memorable jewelry, and chances are, there are a few titles that are likely to be mentioned: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blonds,” “Titanic” (the most recent version) or “Pretty Woman.”

While we love those movies and have featured the jewelry from some of them in our own content, we’d like to offer up three alternatives with great jewelry in movies that are either classic or are on their way to classic status.

Gone with the Wind

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Remember this brooch? Frankly, my dear, you should. It is from the final, unforgettable scene where Rhett calls it quits with Scarlett. Even in moments of distress (especially in those moments), Scarlett O’Hara is in full no-surrender mode with this look-at-me brooch. The brooch has been replicated over the decades for Gone with the Wind diehards. This iconic piece actually comes from costume designer Walter Plunkett’s mother’s personal collection. Art imitates life—and in this case, literally borrowed from life.

Gone with the Wind is one of the most classic movies of all time, and knowing that something personal and beloved from Plunkett’s own life is actually a piece of the movie is even more special.

Girl with a Pearl Earring

ACK65796.jpg DAS MADCHEN MIT DEM PERLENOHRRING / Girl with a Pearl Earring UK/Luxembourg 2003 / Peter Webber Griet (SCARLETT JOHANSSON) und Vermeer (COLIN FIRTH) ||rights=ED

The earring in the movie was a creation of Dien van Strallen, the film’s costume designer. There is something about a big dollop of a pearl, though, that is as timeless as it is beautiful. Also, we love Vermeer and his moody strokes of color and shadow.

The great artist and his painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring, inspired this beautiful movie. There is a mystery surrounding the model in the painting. In the movie, she is fictionally portrayed as the family’s maid’s assistant (played wonderfully by Scarlett Johansson).

Several authors, however, have suggested she might be Vermeer’s eldest daughter, Maria. It’s a notion that is not popular with Vermeer scholars. Whoever she was, between the actual painting and the movie, we love a mystery, we love a good story, and we do love some large pearls.

Glengarry Glen Ross

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Adapted by David Mamet from his 1984 Pulitzer and Tony-award winning play, this 1992 movie takes a real behind-the-scenes view of high-pressure sales. It also shows off the character’s (Blake) watch of choice.

Possibly the most famous moment in the movie is when Blake utters every salesperson’s mantra: Always Be Closing. Played by Alec Baldwin, Blake wore the ultimate status symbol for your wrist, an 18k Day-Date Rolex.

Tell us your favorite jewelry in a movie, and we’ll try to feature it in an upcoming blog.

To the American Gem Society, all of our readers are stars! Find your star-worthy jewelry at ags.org/findajeweler.

Silver Shines On

By Robin Skibicki

The popularity of silver jewelry never seems to ebb, as designers are finding new and artistic ways to style the affordable and malleable metal. Whether silver is mixed with other metals or set with diamonds and gemstones, it’s a go-to look that complements a wide range of colors and styles.

For centuries, silver has been prized for its incredible luster and workability. In this industry, we naturally think of it as a versatile metal used to design beautiful jewelry. But it’s also applied towards technology and industry, used in the home, and often considered for investment purposes.

Pure silver is highly tarnish-resistant but is too soft to use for jewelry design. Other metals like copper, nickel, or zinc, are added to harden silver. For example, sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% another metal. Silver products sometimes may be marked “925” which means that 925 parts per thousand are pure silver.

Some jewelry may be described as silverplate: a layer of silver is bonded to a base metal. According to the law, quality-marked silver also must bear the name or a U.S. registered trademark of the company or person that will stand behind the mark.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive metal for your fine jewelry, silver is a good choice. Since silver is soft and scratches easily, it’s best used for jewelry that is not worn daily.

The versatile beauty of silver is showcased in these designs by our credentialed AGS members.

Michael Schofield & Co.

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A twin fish motif artfully decorates a sterling silver cuff.

 

Breuning

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Petals of silver and silver coated with yellow gold feature a sapphire center.

 

MK Diamonds & Jewelry

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Sterling silver earrings featuring pear-cut blue topaz and blue sapphires set in black rhodium sterling silver.

 

Parlé

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Sterling silver Australian boulder opal and sapphire pendant.

 

Ed Levin Jewelry

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Sterling silver Secret Heart Bracelet “swings open” to reveal a secret heart.

If you’re in the market for silver jewelry—perhaps you like one of the designs pictured above—or have some silver jewelry that needs some TLC, visit a credentialed AGS jeweler near you.

Only My Diamond™ Makes Understanding the 4Cs Simple

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“Liliana” halo engagement ring by Hearts On Fire.

When you are making a diamond purchase, you want to know the story of the diamond, right? The more you know, the easier it is to make an informed decision.

That’s where a diamond grading report comes in. It’s just what it says it is: a report that grades the various qualities of diamonds.

AGS Laboratories Diamond Grading Reports take that analysis to the next level with Only My Diamond.

Only My Diamond is a mobile-friendly tool that provides an easy, quick and interactive way to understand a diamond’s grading report.

This user and mobile-friendly tool includes numerous features, all designed to explain the unique characteristics of your diamond. Some highlights of Only My Diamond are the interactive video of your exact diamond, as well as proprietary features from AGS Laboratories that help explain how your diamond performs in different lighting environments (which is at the root of a diamond’s sparkle!)

Share the story of your diamond with your friends and family.

Watch this quick video to learn how Only My Diamond works. Then ask your jeweler for Only My Diamond from AGS Laboratories. Click here to find a trusted, AGS credentialed jeweler.

Already have an Only My Diamond report? Click here to view your report. Enter your report number and the diamond’s carat weight in the fields provided.

If you don’t have Only My Diamond, why not take it for a test drive? Click here and enter 9999805 into the AGS number field and then enter .567 for the weight.