True or False: Valentine’s Day is the most popular day of the year to pop the question.
The answer is “False.” Christmas Day is the most popular day for proposals, followed by Valentine’s Day. An estimated 40% of engagements occur between November and February,* which means at any given point during the year, Cupid is striking his bow and couples are getting engaged.
If you’re looking for some ring inspiration, here are the top five engagement ring trends for 2018, with a few examples from some American Gem Society (AGS) members:
The Classic Solitaire
The classics never go out of style, which is why they are called classics! The sparkling diamond solitaire has experienced a variety of style changes throughout the centuries, but the single diamond in a six-prong setting remains a beloved symbol of engagement.
Jade Trau Six Prong Solitaire.
Classic Six Prong from Designs by Vatché.
Oval Cut Diamonds
An oval cut can give a vintage look to any style and has been gaining popularity because of its elegant, elongated shape.
Oval diamond engagement ring with oval halo by Memoire.
Oval cut diamond with two tapered baguettes by Harry Kotlar.
Cushion-Cut Diamonds Set in a Halo
The cushion cut is a square or rectangular shape with curved corners. Adding a diamond halo gives the illusion of a much larger diamond!
Cushion Crisscut® diamond engagement ring by Christopher Designs.
Cushion cut diamond with triple shank by Joshua J. Fine Jewelry.
Rose Gold Rings
The soft, warm glow of rose gold could give any diamond engagement ring that extra touch of romance.
Rose gold engagement ring designed by Supreme Jewelry
Micopavé diamond band engagement ring set in rose gold, by Ritani.
Leave it to the British monarchy to lead the way in trend-setting engagement rings. The heavily publicized engagement of American actress Meghan Markle to Prince Harry has had the world admiring her three-stone diamond engagement ring.
New Aire three stone radiant diamond engagement ring by Precision Set.
Classic three oval cut diamond engagement ring from Designs by Vatché.
When you purchase diamond jewelry, always ask for an AGS Laboratories Diamond Grading Report. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your diamond was graded by a nonprofit diamond grading laboratory with a mission of consumer protection. Accept no substitutions and buy your diamond with confidence!
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.
Buying finished jewelry is so different than buying loose diamonds, mainly because our diamond buying is a year-long process. We are constantly searching for diamonds, whether it be something specific that a client has asked to see or just something that we need to meet our day-to-day inventory needs.
Because of this never-ending search for perfect diamonds, our ability to spot the good ones remains pretty sharp. I’ve always said that a really well-cut diamond has a sort of “it factor,” meaning after you’ve seen enough of them, you just know the special ones with a glance. When it takes your breath away—right away—that’s the one.
When I closed Part I of this blog, I promised you that we would discuss exactly what goes into making a diamond an AGS Ideal® cut. How do you tell the difference? And is it worth the extra money? I stressed out so much about living up to my promise that I reached out to my good friends at American Gem Society Laboratories to make sure I kept it all straight. So here we go:
What exactly is “cut” as it relates to diamonds? The American Gem Society (AGS) and AGS Laboratories say, “The cut of a diamond refers to how well the facets of a diamond interact with light, the proportions of the diamond, and the overall finish of the diamond.” (Source: americangemsociety.org/diamond-cut)
Facets, light interaction, proportions, and finish may seem like small things, but their influence on the beauty of a diamond is enormous. AGS makes it really easy to understand with their 0 to 10 grading system, with zero (0) being the highest cut grade (ideal) a diamond can receive and 10 being the lowest. However, this apparent simplicity is deceptive because it requires very careful analysis of all things that make up that diamond.
It used to be that diamonds were “cut graded” primarily by their proportions, but AGS revolutionized diamond grading in 2005 when they released their long-awaited Light Performance Cut Grading System.
This method uses patented software technology to measure the attributes that are most important to the beauty of your diamond: Brightness, Fire (spectral color), and Contrast. The combined impact of these factors is what breathes life into your diamond and makes it sparkle! In other words, they are the secret ingredients of the “it factor” that I mentioned above.
The AGS Grading Scale, based on a 0 to 10 scale, makes grades easier to understand; 0 means the cut grade is the best it can be.
Because every facet is considered, every cutting mistake and design flaw can impact the final Cut Grade. Consequently, the AGS Performance Cut Grade system is the most technologically advanced and scientifically rigorous system in the world and represents the highest standards in cut grading.
These ranges make it easier to understand, but I’ve seen more than my share of clients get caught up in these numbers, and they forget to ask themselves one thing: how does the diamond actually look? Is it bright and sparkly with a lot of life? Yes? Then don’t let one number encourage you to cast a pretty diamond onto the scrap pile.
What’s really cool from a gemologist’s point of view is that the same technology used to compute the Cut Grade also produces a color-coded image of the diamond which allows you to understand its light performance.
The above is called an ASET image. ASET stands for Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool. (There will be a test later, haha.) For customers like you, this is a crucial piece of technology because it demonstrates the way light interacts with your diamond. It’s much easier to see and understand a diamond’s beauty through this image than to listen to a scientific explanation, right? We can show you your diamond’s ASET image right at Jack Lewis, and you can even snap a picture of it to carry around with you or share on social media.
Additionally, The ASET shows the “optical symmetry” of your diamond. For example, in the image above, the eight symmetrical arrows prove that the diamond was cut with a high degree of craftsmanship and artistry.
The simple fact remains that while what we do isn’t the most complicated job on the planet, it really does take a scientific approach and an educated eye to do all of the above. A life spent in the diamond business can teach the right grader, gemologist, or diamond buyer the skills they need to be able to make proper decisions and assign the right grades which determines the right price.
The average consumer looking to find just the right diamond for the love of their life does not have the time to become an expert during their brief shopping experience. They can Google, research, and look at hundreds of diamonds, but they will still need to seek out a properly credentialed and trustworthy diamond professional to help them find what’s right for them. That’s the real dilemma when you’re looking for a jeweler isn’t it….trust?
I once had a client at the diamond counter who told me that Jack Lewis Jewelers was the 15th jewelry store he had visited! He was so confused and so frustrated with the process that he was almost in tears. I can understand why. One jewelry store will tell you one thing, and then another will explain it another way, and on top of it, they are all trying to sell you whatever is in front of them. Just about all of them mean well and are honest, but it can be a lot to process.
I asked if I could give him some advice and he reluctantly said, “Sure.” I said, “Just stop. Stop looking. Pick the place that makes the most sense with as little sales talk as possible. Then trust that person to walk you through the process with an education along the way.” I went on to say that I hoped that was me, but if not, he needed to find the person he could most relate to and trust.
I could tell when I gave him that advice that I had lifted a great weight off of his shoulders. The process can be overwhelming and the diamond grading scale can be a large part of why. I understand that retailers don’t always do a good job of explaining the process, so it is really important to find one who takes the time to do just that. I’ve found it’s the best way to establish a relationship with my clients—and dare I say it—a friendship. I’m happy to say that client did choose me! This occurred over 10 years ago and over the course of a few years, he even sent me several of his friends.
You can see we’ve taken this from an explanation about Cut Grade to the importance of establishing a relationship with someone you can trust. My journey to this destination was no accident. So let’s cut to the chase: at some point, buying a diamond becomes a leap of faith, and Cut is the most complicated part of the buying process as well as being the most essential characteristic in determining beauty. I believe it’s an understatement to say that it pays off to have an expert help you with that part. And at Jack Lewis, we’re ready to walk you through it.
I want to thank my friends at the American Gem Society (AGS) and AGS Laboratories for helping me with this blog. In particular, Jason Quick, who is the Laboratory Director and a mad genius who understands diamonds in ways I can only imagine. Jason and the team at AGS are on the forefront in the jewelry industry because consumer protection is at the very heart of everything they do.
Like the young man in my story, I hope you also choose Jack Lewis Jewelers, but we realize we can’t sell everyone a diamond. If you’ve ever wondered how you can find a jeweler you can trust, start with us if you can…but if not, AGS has you covered. Visit Find a Jeweler at www.americangemsociety.org/find-a-jeweler, type in your zip code and visit a great store. Every retail member of the American Gem Society adheres to a strict code of ethics that help them remain dedicated to the education of their clients.
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!
Hearts On Fire
Uneek Fine Jewelry
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!
Our AGS Laboratories’ gemologists love when they come across something as rare and beautiful as what they have dubbed a “clarity rarity.” Diamonds are always fascinating to examine and sometimes the incredible inclusions make our imaginations run wild! Check out the “rainbow trout” and the “smiley face!”
Here’s their latest finding. It’s a blue crystal in the table of a 2.23 ct diamond. It kind of looks like a sapphire ring embedded in the middle of the diamond. What do you think? Click on the images for a larger view.
Crown view at 25x magnification.
Crown view at 50x magnification.
To learn more about diamond grading, clarity, and AGS Laboratories, click here. To find a jeweler who carries AGS Laboratories Diamond Grading Reports, click here. AGS Laboratories is a nonprofit diamond grading lab created with a mission of consumer protection.
Ask your jeweler for an AGS Laboratories Diamond Grading Report. Accept no substitutes, and buy your diamond with confidence!
If you haven’t already, be sure to mark your calendar for this Sunday, February 26, so you don’t miss the 89th Academy Awards! Millions of film and fashion fans will be tuning into ABC at 7:00 p.m. EST/4:00 p.m. PST when the stars begin to walk the red carpet.
What will this year’s fab fashions be? Here’s a list of five trends that are predicted to be “scene” on the stars. We’ve included a few designs from AGS members that we think would best complement these lovely looks.
Flowers and Nature
Floral designs never seem to go out of style and with spring just around the corner, what better place to display some flower power than at the Oscars! They can either be classic and demure or big, bold, and bright! With the growing trend of floral patterns, other nods to nature are sure to follow. Animals, birds, and leafy plants are leaving a trail on this season’s designs.
Sapphire, white and brown diamonds flower ring by Supreme Jewelry.
Flexible diamond tiger cuff by Roberto Coin.
Cobra drop earrings with diamonds by John Hardy.
Here’s a hue that has been popular of late. When it comes to pink gemstones, we can choose from pink diamonds, pink sapphire, Morganite, kunzite, and rose quartz, to name a few! Which gal—or guy—will be thinking pink on the red carpet?
Fancy light purplish pink heart shape diamond necklace by Scott West Diamonds.
Fancy pink diamond ring by Jeffrey Daniels Unique Designs.
Pink sapphire flower cluster diamond earrings and pendant by Whiteflash.
The elegant drape of a one-shoulder dress or top embodies a mix of sophistication and sultriness. An ensemble like this should be punctuated by some serious sparkle!
Diamond Angel Feather ring by KC Designs.
The Helen necklace by Harry Kotlar.
White Kites Bird long earrings by HOF X Stephen Webster.
Reminiscent of old Hollywood, satin is one of the biggest trends this spring. Expect to see the silky-smooth and shimmering fabric in bright jewel tones. Enhance the look with gorgeous jewels like these!
Trillion cut Tanzanite and diamond earrings by AG Gems.
A two-tone gold necklace featuring rose-cut emeralds and diamonds by Yael Designs.
Paraiba tourmaline and diamond ring by Takat.
Gone are the days of drab black and gray. Enter the brilliant and daring blocks of color! Bold and beautiful gemstones make these jewelry designs absolute showstoppers.
“Amazon” pendant featuring peridot accented by purple garnet and diamonds by Erica Courtney.
“Gossip” emerald cut citrine earrings with diamonds by Goshwara.
Rhodolite and spessartite garnet ring by Omi Prive.
Shopping for fine jewelry should be just as exciting as the Oscars but without unwelcome surprises. American Gem Society (AGS) credentialed jewelers adhere to standards that not only comply with governing laws, but that go beyond, to ensure that you are buying from jewelers who have the knowledge and skill to help you make the most informed buying decision. To find an AGS jeweler near you, click here, and leave the nail-biting uncertainty for the Oscars!
So…I’m back! It’s been a while since I have regaled you with my gem nerd knowledge, so today I need to do a quick recap. We started off discussing color, then we went into clarity, followed up by my tales from Antwerp, Belgium. This time, we need to discuss the absolute most important aspect of any diamond: how it is cut! Because this is so important, we need to split it into a few parts just so I can hold your attention and give you the most important details.
My clarity blog ended by pointing out that the way a diamond sparkles generally has very little to do with its carat weight, its color, or its clarity. So what causes that dynamic little laser show you see in a perfectly cut diamond? I will do my best to explain.
For just over a hundred years, cutters have known how to properly proportion a diamond to maximize its sparkle. Yet without modern technology, they were forced to use nothing but mathematics to accurately decipher what angles would ensure the maximum beauty of a diamond.
Today, we can use computer programs and ray-tracing technologies to reinforce that those Belgian cutters from the previous century were almost spot-on with their equations. Think about how amazing that is! Using just mathematics, they were able to get the proportions of diamonds within fractions of a percentage point to their optimal standards. (And you never believed your teachers when they insisted math was useful.)
Over the years, I’ve had thousands of interactions with clients at our diamond counter, and while everyone is looking for something a little different, the constants that every buyer wants are the same: they want their diamond to be as big and as sparkly as possible for as little money as possible. Simple enough, but most people go about this process the wrong way (initially, at least). So it’s my job to help them see things from the proper angles (diamond cutting pun intended).
After some initial Internet research, the average diamond consumer becomes fixated on color and clarity and starts to focus most of their attention on those categories. This isn’t incorrect so much as it’s just incomplete, because it’s a little misguided to value those areas over the cut grade of the diamonds you are shopping.
Color and Clarity are important. They have to be since they’re based on rarity and because they affect the price so much. But here’s the truth that almost no diamond seller will tell you… Ready for this bombshell? Here it is: once you put that diamond on your finger, absolutely nobody will ever walk up to you and say, “Wow! That’s a really pretty 1.01ct G color VS2 clarity diamond!” Ridiculous right? Know why? Because unless the color and clarity are terrible, nobody notices those (not even your jeweler). What you, your friends, your family, and everyone else does notice about a diamond is its size and how much it sparkles. And what I’m telling you is that color and clarity have almost no influence on how much a diamond sparkles (again, unless they are lousy).
So that brings us to the cut grade and the proportions of a diamond which, from an educational perspective, have always been the most difficult to explain because, frankly, there are so many numbers to focus on that it can be hard to know which ones to single out. Some people try. They look at the table percentage or the depth percentage and assume if they are in line, then the rest must be as well. But this is not always the case.
For generations, the diamond industry has known that the cut grade is the most important factor in describing a diamond’s beauty, but they struggled for decades to explain why. In fact, this is such a complicated topic that universally-accepted grading standards for Cut didn’t make it into the marketplace until nearly 40 years after the accepted nomenclature for color and clarity were instituted.
It was in 2005 that the AGS Laboratories from American Gem Society (AGS) became the first diamond grading laboratory to bring clear standards to an otherwise fuzzy conversation. They accomplished this by basing their cut grading on both 3-dimensional modeling and on the actual appearance of the diamond. While other laboratories have since followed suit with systems of their own, I have always been a believer that the AGS system is the most thorough and reliable.
You’ve just gotten engaged. What are you going to do next? The excited bride-to-be used to jump on the phone and call everyone she knows. These days, she jumps on her phone and posts the news on social media. But if you’re going to take a photo of that perfect diamond, make sure you catch it in the best light.
Being a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to the mission of consumer protection, AGS Laboratories takes the security of their diamond grading reports very seriously.
If you have an AGS Laboratories diamond grading report, take a close look at it. Have you ever noticed any of the security features? Some are apparent and some are hidden. We feel you should know about the six security steps AGS Laboratories has taken to ensure the authenticity and security of your diamond grading report.
#1 – Paper
Just like U.S. currency, the paper used to create your diamond grading report is tracked and signed in and out. When documents need to be printed, the paper is taken from its secure location, counted, and then signed out. Once printed, it’s counted again. The amount of paper that was originally signed out must match the amount that was printed.
If a document is misprinted, it will be securely discarded. This action must be added to the report, that way the destroyed document isn’t recorded as missing.
#2 – Hologram
Each document contains a special hologram unique to AGS Laboratories. Like the paper, these holograms are counted, signed in and signed out. It also contains its own security feature: if you try to peel it off, it becomes illegible and cannot be reapplied.
#3 – Barcode
Each document has its own unique barcode, which is just one more way the security of your document is reinforced.
#4 – QR Code
At the top of each document appears a Quick Response (QR) code, which can be scanned with any QR app found on a smartphone or tablet. The QR code ties in with the AGS number and barcode found on each document. If the algorithm within the QR code verifies that both numbers match in our database, it will connect to the report verification page on the AGS.org and agslab.com websites.
AGS Laboratories is the first to have both a barcode and a QR code on laboratory documents.
#5 – Unifraction Embossing
On the reverse side of the document, you will see something that looks like a hologram but is, in fact, a proprietary security mark woven into the paper. Examples of unifraction embossing can be found on some foreign currency.
#6 – Lamination
The lamination on your document keeps it looking like new. It protects against damage from liquids, the transfer of oils from our skin, paper-loving vermin, and the general wear and tear of time. It’s also bonded to the document; if one attempts to peel it off, it will destroy the document, removing ink in the process.
Ensuring Your Protection
So, there you have it: the six security features on your AGS Laboratories diamond grading report. These six features can only be found on full and half page documents. Go ahead and count them. Scan the QR code. Be confident you have an authentic and secure document in your hands.
We know shopping for a diamond or diamond jewelry is a big investment, and at times can be intimidating. Always ask for an AGS Laboratories Diamond Grading Report to help you make an informed purchase. And, be sure to shop with an American Gem Society credentialed jeweler. They will explain your desired diamond’s AGS Laboratories Diamond Grading Report, as well as tell you about the qualities and characteristics that make your diamond unique.
This new semi-regular feature will highlight some of our members’ favorite places to go and things to see in their hometowns, as well a sneak peek at their newest designs. First up: Los Angeles, where Michael John Jewelry and OMI Privé are headquartered.
Shopping – I like the new and up-and-coming designer brands available at Barneys.
Weekend activity – My family and I live and breathe soccer and it pretty much occupies most of our time spent on the weekends. My wife, Atousa, and I have two boys and we are either at one of their tournaments, playing with them one-on-one or watching it together on TV.
Day trip – I love to visit Santa Barbara for relaxing and taking trips up to Big Bear for skiing with the family.
We love Michael John’s creations for their bold silhouettes and fashion-forward designs. Some of the designer’s newest pieces include a major pink diamond ring perfect for the ultra-feminine bride and a set of rose-cut diamond pieces that have more than enough sparkle for a night on the town.
Michael John Jewelry 5.70 carat pink diamond ring in 18k rose gold.
Michael John Jewelry rose-cut and round diamond ring in 18k white gold
and 39.61 carat rose-cut diamond bracelet in 18k white gold.
Founders, designers and brothers Michael and John Hezar, of Michael John Jewelry (formerly known as Michael John IMAGE and Image Jewelry), share a common goal of creating timeless fashion. Inspired by nature, these brilliant designs are crafted into impeccable jewelry with exquisite quality, allowing Michael John Jewelry to meet, if not surpass their goal of embracing everlasting style in all of their pieces.
OMI Privé designs out-of-this-world colored stone jewelry in classic settings with a twist. New favorites include this stunning purple spinel ring with a surprising alexandrite halo, and an oval aquamarine set in unexpected rose gold.
OMI Privé spinel and alexandrite ring in 18k rose gold.
OMI Privé aquamarine and diamond ring in 18k rose gold.
The Omi Gems family dates back five generations to Burma in the early 1900s. Decades of wars and close escapes from political unrest followed. With a handful of gems, a brilliant outlook, and a clear mindset, Omi Nagpal and his loving wife, Preeti, came to the United States. There, they founded and built a loose gemstone house that over time became synonymous with the world’s most valuable jewels. Now, the Los Angeles-based company is led by Omi’s son, Niveet. As head designer, Niveet has continued the family’s reputation and high integrity through the Omi Privé fine jewelry collection.