The Mistaken Identity of November’s Birthstones

novemberbirthstonesThe month of November is represented by two richly colored gemstones: topaz and citrine. The gemstones look similar, in fact, that they’ve often been mistaken for one another throughout history. But they are actually unrelated minerals, and topaz occurs in a wide variety of colors far beyond yellow.

The good news is that both of these gemstones are fairly abundant and affordably priced, which means anyone can find a topaz or citrine that will fit their budget.

Topaz

Once upon a time, all gems that were yellow were once considered topaz, and all topaz were presumed to be yellow. Alas, it’s been discovered that topaz is available in a wide variety of colors, with Imperial topaz—a vibrant orange hue with pink undertones— being the most prized. Blue topaz, although abundant in the market, rarely occurs naturally and is often caused by irradiation treatment.

Pure topaz is colorless, but it can become tinted by impurities to take on any color of the rainbow. Precious topaz, ranging in color from brownish orange to yellow, is often mistaken for “smoky quartz” or “citrine quartz,” respectively—although quartz and topaz are unrelated minerals.

Topaz is a traditional gift for those with November birthdays. It’s also given to celebrate 19th wedding anniversaries, and certain types (blue and Imperial, respectively) acknowledge 4th and 23rd wedding anniversaries, as well.

When buying topaz, realize that this gem is most often treated with irradiation to produce desirable colors—particularly blue. Because these processes so closely resemble how topaz forms in nature, there is practically no way to determine whether a stone has been treated.

Here are a few designs from AGS members featuring the terrific topaz. Click on the images for a larger view.

Coffin & Trout Fine Jewellers

coffinandtrout-topaz

Bi-color topaz set in platinum, 18k rose and yellow gold accented by a pear shaped garnet, tourmaline, and round brilliant cut diamonds.

Goshwara

goswara-topaz

“Gossip” London Blue topaz emerald cut earrings on wire.

Corona Jewellery Company

corona-sunrisetopaz

Sunrise topaz and diamond ring.

Yael Designs

yael-topaz

The Nero pendant is 18k black gold featuring Imperial topaz, accented with rubies and champagne diamonds.

Citrine

The second birthstone for November, citrine, is the variety of quartz that ranges from pale yellow to brownish orange in color. It takes its name from the citron fruit because of these lemon-inspired shades.

The name “citrine” was commonly used to refer to yellow gems as early as 1385 when the word was first recorded in English. However, since the gem’s color closely resembled topaz, the two November birthstones shared a history of mistaken identities.

Once citrine was distinguished from topaz, it quickly became popular in women’s jewelry as well as men’s cufflinks and rings. Today, it remains one of the most affordable and frequently purchased yellow gemstones.

Whether shopping for a November birthday, a 13th wedding anniversary, or just an affordable piece of jewelry to complement any style, citrine makes a perfect gift. These beautiful design from AGS members ought to spark some gift ideas. Be sure to click on the images to get a larger view.

Gumuchian

gumuchian-citrine

These 18kt yellow gold Mosaic Tile earrings feature diamonds, honey citrine and yellow mother of pearl.

Gleim the Jeweler

gleim-citrine

Long, graceful citrine briolettes drop from a tracery of diamonds set in 18K white gold.

United Color Gems

unitedcolorgems-citrine

This pendant is 18k white gold featuring a cushion shaped citrine with a fancy cut top and round diamonds.

Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry

ricardobasta-citrine

The Citrine Swirl Brooch features round citrine surrounded by diamonds and rubies, set in platinum and 18k yellow gold.

When buying topaz or citrine, be sure to shop with a trusted jeweler who will inform you whether or not the stones have been treated. To find an AGS jeweler near you, visit our Find a Jeweler search. The American Gem Society wishes you a very happy birthday, and if you’re celebrating an anniversary, may your love continue to flourish for years to come!

Get Ready for Rubies!

For those born in July, the ruby—the king of precious stones—is your birthstone.

Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum, colored by the element chromium. All other colors of gem-quality corundum are called sapphire, which means color is key for this royal stone.

The chromium that gives ruby its red color also causes fluorescence, which makes rubies glow like a fire from within. Paradoxically, chromium is also what makes this gem scarce because it can cause cracks and fissures. Few rubies actually grow large enough to crystallize into fine quality gems, and these can bring even higher prices than diamonds.

Accordingly, the name “ruby” comes from rubeus, the Latin word for red. In ancient Sanskrit, ruby translated to ratnaraj, which meant “king of precious stones.” These fiery gems have been treasured throughout history for their vitality.

Tough and durable, ruby measures 9 on the Mohs scale. Diamond is the only natural gemstone harder than ruby. Ruby’s strength and red fluorescence make it valuable for applications beyond jewelry. Both natural and synthetic rubies are used in watchmaking, medical instruments and lasers.

Due to its deep red color, ruby has long been associated with the life force and vitality of blood. It is believed to amplify energy, heighten awareness, promote courage and bring success in wealth, love and battle. Many cultures regard the ruby as a symbol of love and passion, and have long been considered the perfect wedding gem.

Rubies make wonderful gifts for a July baby, or anyone marking an important milestone, like a 15th or 40th wedding anniversary. If you’re in search of rubies as a gift or to add to your jewelry wardrobe, visit our Find a Jeweler search for an AGS credentialed jeweler near you.

In the meantime, relish in these stunning designs featuring the ravishing ruby!


Gregg Ruth

GreggRuth-Pendant

The Tropez Pendant by Gregg Ruth features 2.48Cts of rubies and 0.20Cts of white diamonds.


Armadani

Armadani-rubyearrings

Armadani designed these lovely ruby and diamond flowers studs set in 18k white gold.


Michael Schofield

MichaelSchofield-RubyPin

Michael Schofield designed this fantastic brooch of rubies and diamonds set in 18k white gold.


Lika Behar

LikaBehar-RubyPendant

The Rosalie Necklace by Lika Behar features a rose cut ruby slice surrounded by champagne diamonds, and set in 24k gold and oxidized silver.


AG Gems

AGGems-RubyEarrings

These earrings by AG Gems feature marquise, cushion and round cut rubies cascading down 18k yellow gold swirls set with diamonds.


OMI Privé

OmiPrive-bracelet

OMI Prive designed this exquisitely detailed ruby and diamond bracelet, set in platinum with 18k yellow gold.


Christopher Designs

ChristopherDesigns-rubyring

The ruby in this ring design by Christopher Designs is 3.64ct, surrounded by 1.02ct Crisscut Round diamonds.

 


 

AGS Member Spotlight: Suna Bros.

By Randi Molofsky

Aron&JonWhen investing in a piece of fine jewelry, there’s no better choice than a brand with long, distinguished heritage that is known for exemplary craftsmanship and customer service. Enter New York-based Suna Bros., jewelers that do classics better than anyone else in a variety of styles featuring exceptional diamonds and colored gemstones. We spoke to Danielle Barber, Suna’s Director of Creative and Marketing, to find out why its collections, all made in New York City, are still so coveted after more than eight decades.

Suna Bros. has an over 80-year tradition and is a family business, how does that play into the day-to-day workings of the company?

Both Aron and Jonathan Suna are dedicated to the success of Suna Bros. They are involved, truly involved, in every facet of daily business. They’re in early, stay late and work in manufacturing, customer service, design, stone buying etc. Since every Suna piece is crafted in the workshop in our NYC headquarters, they’re often working with our master jewelers or discussing new styles with our designer. They’re also always accessible to Suna retailers, many whom have had long-standing relationships with them, and they’ll work directly with our clients on special orders or requests. It’s inspiring to see such a level of pride and dedication.

Suna is exceptionally great at creating classic, timeless settings. What are some of the most popular styles that the company makes today?

Aron and Jonathan’s father, Kenneth, started Suna Bros. specializing in finely made channel-set wedding bands. Created with that original, old-world aesthetic, these bands remain popular today. The quality is unrivaled: each is individually crafted from start to finish with beautifully hand-cut azures and hand-set diamonds. Classics! Our platinum and pavé diamond styles are perennial favorites as well, especially one ring in particular with 2.20cts. of diamonds.

R6983P-HiRes

You must have a great jewelry archive!  Are there any specific pieces that have been made for many years?

Absolutely, but one piece in particular comes to mind: the Suna starfish. For over 40 years, our small pavé starfish pin has rode the wave of top selling items. It’s become a Suna icon.  We’ve since added complementary larger and smaller pins, pendants and earrings, but the entire starfish collection is based on that one piece.

P7250P

Big, rich colored gemstones are back and more popular than ever. Which are you loving right now?

We are loving color!  The Suna spectrum has been shining with all kinds of gems. We’re especially enamored with tourmaline and its amazing palette. We love them all: paraiba, African paraiba-types, rubellites, greens and incredible pinkish peach hues. It’s impossible to choose a favorite.

Tell us about your Couture collection – is there a recent piece or one that’s being made that you can share with us?

We’re building more and more upon our color collection of one-of-a-kind styles. One gem in particular stands out: a gorgeous 12-plus carat cushion-shaped, African paraiba-type tourmaline. It is a magnificent gem. We’re hoping to finish a ring by the end of May, just in time for Couture, the most exclusive U.S. fine jewelry trade show of the year that takes place in Las Vegas!

Tourmaline

Top 5 Facebook Favorites!

By Amanda L. Colborn

It’s been awhile since the American Gem Society has posted some of our social media favorites, so I thought I’d catch you up on what’s going on with our AGS Facebook page.  The social media favorites are really determined by our followers. These top 5 pieces have garnered the most likes and engagement on Facebook and so that’s how I determined what made this week’s blog.

And let me just say, our followers have exquisite taste!

Here’s a look at what’s been trending on our page this season:

10931217_10152690868996116_8061060639296727566_n

  1. First up is this breathtaking Fire Opal ring from Yael Designs. This ring was posted prior to the JCK Luxury show in Las Vegas, where it made it’s big (literally, it’s big) debut. It didn’t surprise me in the least that this fantastic ring made the top of the social media favorites list, it’s absolutely stunning!
    11146614_10152658229531116_8678820880495802700_n
  2. Next up, we have a sparkling diamond ring from Simon G. which was posted by Kassab Jewelers. What really makes this ring catch your eye, is how the small halo of pink diamonds really amplifies the look of the center stone. The three-strand setting, each ornamented with white diamonds, adds another element of intricate detail to this exquisite ring
  3. 11265404_452514378245473_8971999350149317307_nSuna Bros. called this their ‘Zircon Zinger,’ and honestly, I can’t get enough of that name. The beautiful blue of this stone is enough already, but then they added diamonds to the setting and band which made it absolute perfection!
  4. 1836824_889521897735743_308284906759892129_oFrom LeVian comes the Blueberry Tanzanite® ring (you all really like your rings, huh?).  Who could blame you? We couldn’t resist sharing this piece with you! The color differentiation of the luxurious Tanzanite and diamonds along with the rose gold setting, really make this ring a special treat.11412343_10152710408366116_7172675216593864120_n
  5. While we’re on the topic of luxurious, our next favorite fits the bill perfectly! This Fancy Yellow Kotlar Cushion from Harry Kotlar is true luxury at it’s finest! The Kotlar Cushion is specifically cut to maximize the diamond’s fire. We recommend you not wear this ring while driving, as it is sure to blind you and other drivers. 🙂

There you have the top 5 trends from our AGS Facebook page. Be sure to like our page for more beautiful pieces from our AGS members. If you like seeing a re-cap of our Facebook and other social media trends in the blog, please comment and let us know!

Finally, there is one other post that our Facebook audience really loved.  It isn’t a jewelry piece so I did not include it in the top 5, but it definitely deserves an honorable mention. And so, to finalize this week’s blog, I leave you with this trending quote. Have a great weekend everyone!

11355716_1594358170838204_1463829155_n

 

 

 

Celebrating Cushion Cut

By Amanda L. Colborn

One of the most popular and consistently trending diamond and gemstone shapes is the cushion cut.

Originally referred to as the “old mine cut,” the cushion cut is essentially a square cut with rounded corners, much like a cushion…hence it’s name.

Arguably, one of the top most popular cuts today – the round cut diamond being the first – the cushion cut has been around for approximately 200 years.

Cushion cuts have evolved over time, refinements have been made since the 1920’s to improve the brilliance and light return of the cut causing a big increase in popularity over time and giving you the beautiful cut that you know and love today.

 

Cushion cut earrings from Forevermark Diamonds.

Cushion Cut Yellow Diamond Earrings from Forevermark Diamonds

The cushion cut does have different cut patterns and no two gemstones are the same, so be sure to talk to your American Gem Society jeweler about which one best suits your taste.  No matter which cushion cut jewelry piece you pick, you can feel confident knowing that you’re wearing one of the most popular and coveted cuts available!

Cushion Cut Tourmaline from Omi Privé

Cushion Cut Tourmaline from Omi Privé