It’s November, so let’s talk all things Turkey and topaz jewelry. (We’re referring to the country, not the bird.)
Growing up in Istanbul, Lika Behar collected rocks from the terrain as well as beads and semiprecious stones from the shopping bazaars of her homeland. So, it’s no surprise she grew up to design jewelry that’s rich with color, textures that are rough and glassy, and all put together in a wild hive of metals and gemstones.
“When I see beautiful, original, and often organically-shaped gemstones, the design process in my mind begins,” says Lika. Those three words—beautiful, original, organic—perfectly describe her pieces, whether straightforward in their simplicity or one-of-a-kind art pieces.
Lika’s Mediterranean influence is evident not only in the colors of gemstones but also in her work with 24-karat gold. Both hammered and smooth, this luscious gold is perfect on its own and equally stunning as a complementary setting for other metals and gems.
In celebration of the month, here’s topaz jewelry – November’s birthstone – à la Lika.
24K Gold and Oxidized Silver Ring with Faceted Sky Blue Topaz
24K Gold and Oxidized Silver Ring with Cushion Cut White Topaz
Lika may not have coined the phrase “diamond in the rough,” but she certainly mastered it.
22K Hoop Earrings with Fancy Cut and Melee Diamonds
It’s Hammer Time, for bracelets. You can touch this.
24K Hammered Fusion Gold and Silver Open Cuff
Are your ears ringing? They should be earring-ing, that is, with Lika’s oxidized silver, gold, and diamond beauties.
24K Gold and Oxidized Silver Earrings with Diamonds
24K Gold and Oxidized Silver Ear Cuffs with Diamonds
Mediterranean Color Blast
With Lika’s Turkish pedigree, the expectation for color is great—and she does not disappoint. Fasten your seat belts for these pieces featuring sapphire, moonstone, and more.
24K gold and sterling silver pendant with rainbow moonstone, opal doublets, blue sapphires, and fancy-shape diamonds.
24K gold freeform one-of-a-kind ammolite doublet with emeralds and fancy-cut diamonds.
The time has come in your relationship to finally pop THE question. Various thoughts are now running through your mind, like how to ask, where to ask, and when to ask. And then it dawns on you: what type of ring should I choose?
If a traditional round brilliant diamond is too traditional for your taste, consider one with a different shape. Fancy Shaped or Fancy Cut diamonds (as they are also known) are beautiful and sometimes even more affordable than the traditional round brilliant. These geometric works of art are created by diamond cutters who are master craftsmen with a cutting wheel.
Fancy shaped diamonds can also come with diamond grading reports so that you can best understand the diamond’s characteristics. AGS Laboratories pioneered the light performance cut grade for fancy shapes, which means between the diamond cutters and AGS Laboratories, you now have more options of beautiful diamonds to choose from.
Here are four different fancy shapes to consider when shopping for the perfect ring.
The pear-shaped diamond has become a popular fancy shape among celebrities and modern brides who are looking for an elegant, eye-catching engagement ring. This beautiful rose gold ring from Tacori features a pear-cut diamond framed by a pear-shaped halo.
Emerald cuts are another great alternative. Take this showstopping emerald cut from Harry Kotlar, which is flanked by two spear-like diamonds.
Ovals are classic diamonds that are just a bit more cheeky than a round brilliant. They say, “I have a classic style, with a bit of an edge.” Just like this stunner from Valentina Diamonds.
The long, narrow shape of this fancy cut is often credited for making the finger appear more slender. Check out this diamond halo marquis-cut engagement ring from Norman Silverman Diamonds.
The right ring can be found with a little research and shopping around. One thing the right ring needs, though (besides the right person to give it to) is the right jeweler. Find the perfect jeweler here.
If you’re looking for a style that takes traditional in a different direction, check out the east-west setting. It’s the lastest jewelry trend that places the gemstone horizontally vs. the classic vertical setting. Whether the cut is oval, pear, marquise, or emerald, the east-west setting will be noticed!
We’re spotlighting a few designs from our AGS members that feature this eye-catching setting. Click on the images to get a closer look at east-west settings in rings and necklaces.
Engagement ring featuring an east-west emerald diamond with pavé halo, by A.Jaffe.
Tanzanite and diamond engagement ring, by Bevelery K.
East-west marquise diamond bypass engagement ring with halo, by Uneek Fine Jewelry.
Emerald cut amethyst with diamond halo, by Dilamani.
Necklace featuring an east-west oval sapphire with diamond halo, by Gabriel & Co.
East-west bracelet with oval diamonds, by Norman Silverman.
Diamond Metropolitan bar necklace, by KC Designs.
Bracelet with solitaire pear-shaped London Blue topaz, by Tacori.
Single emerald cut diamond on a ball chain necklace, by Brevani.
Platinum “Eloise” ring with rose cut diamonds, by Erica Courtney.
Throughout history, gold has been one of the most sought-after metals in the world. It’s been used as currency, to decorate objects as a thing of beauty, and is also used for industrial purposes.
“Reflections” ring made of 24k hammered gold set with diamonds, by Lika Behar Collection.
In the jewelry industry, the word “gold,” when used by itself, means “all gold” or “pure” gold, meaning 24 karat (24K) gold. Because 24K gold is soft, it’s usually mixed with other metals called alloys to increase its hardness and durability. If a piece of jewelry is not 24 karat gold, the karat quality should accompany any claim that the item is gold.
The karat quality marking tells you what proportion of gold is mixed with the other metals. Fourteen-karat (14K) jewelry contains 14/24 or 58.3% gold, with 10/24 parts of an alloy metal. The higher the karat rating, the higher the proportion of gold in the piece of jewelry.
Jewelry should be marked with its karat quality. Near the karat quality mark, you should also see the name or the U.S. registered trademark of the company that will stand behind the mark. The trademark may be in the form of a name, symbol or initials. If you don’t see a trademark accompanying a quality mark on a piece of jewelry, look for another piece.
Are you ready to go for the gold? Below are some designs from our American Gem Society members that feature yellow, white, or rose gold, which is a mixture of gold with copper to create the pinkish, soft glow.
“Ablaze” bracelet in 14K gold with diamonds, by E.L. Designs.
Cestino Flower ring with white diamonds set in 18K rose and white gold, by Bergio.
A-symmetric shape necklace in 14K yellow gold, by NEI Group.
Round twisted French pave diamond hoop earrings with 14K white and rose gold, by Gabriel & Co.
Honeybee “B” honeycomb diamond cuff in 18K gold, by Gumuchian.
Diamond Mosaic fan earrings in 14K white gold, by KC Designs.
Diamond engagement ring in 14K white and rose gold, by Divine.
Stepping Stone Hinged Bangle in 18K recycled yellow gold and sand pave with natural colored diamonds, by Debra Navarro.
Blue and white diamond circle pendant in 10K rose gold, by Carizza.
Mosaic ring in 18K yellow gold with diamond and enameling, by Lord Jewelry.
When it comes to cleaning gold, visit your jeweler for a professional cleaning. To clean your jewelry at home, be sure to ask your jeweler what at-home products are best for cleaning gold, especially if there are gemstones in the piece.
Spring is here and we’re ready for some fine jewelry trends to help us celebrate this much-welcome change of season! Now that the weather is warming up, what’s hot? We’ve gathered some season-sensational (We just made that up!) designs from our AGS members.
Quite possibly the most quintessential symbols of spring are flowers, butterflies, and bees. Naturally, their likenesses are found in a variety of fine jewelry designs.
One-of-a-kind, Queen Bee Pendant, by Lord Jewelry.
Butterfly Open Frame band, by Fine Jewels of NYC.
Paraiba tourmaline and diamond flower ring, by Simon G. Jewelry.
Next on the list is chains. Big chains. Little chains. This trend is an ode to the Eighties and they’re everywhere!
Diamond Chain Link hoop earrings, by KC Designs.
Chain Band with diamonds, by Erica Courtney.
Gold and diamond chain cuff, from Sloane Street by Gadbois Jewelry.
It’s been said that pearls never go out of style, but these aren’t your grandmother’s pearls! Modern designs have re-imagined the classic jewelry wardrobe staple.
South Sea cultured pearl and graduated sapphire earrings, by Baggins Pearls.
Golden South Sea pearl pendant with diamonds, by ASBA USA, Inc.
Tricolor white cultured pearl ring with diamonds, by Mastoloni.
The warmer weather has us looking towards the sky and the sea for a much-needed getaway! Both celestial and nautical-themed designs inspire us to seek the outdoors (and beyond) for our next adventure.
Did you know that brown diamonds show more flashes of colored light than “colorless” diamonds?
If you are in the market for brown diamonds, be sure to ask your jeweler for an AGS Laboratories Colored Diamond Document. It’s a grading report that presents the technical aspects and nuances of colored diamond grading to jewelry buyers with easy-to-understand verbiage and graphics.
Brown diamonds will no longer be described simply as “a brown diamond,” but will be communicated visually, highlighting the nuances within the diamond’s color. For example, a diamond with even distribution of brown throughout and hints of orange, could be described as a deep, rich, brown diamond with moderate orange accents.
Click the image below to view the Colored Diamond Document.
“Brown diamonds are beautiful and are an alternative choice to the more traditional colorless diamonds. They are also trending as an affordable choice for fine jewelry,” said Jason Quick, Laboratory Director at AGS Laboratories. “We recognized a growing need in the market and decided to create a tool that will truly enhance consumers’ buying experience.”
AGS Laboratories encourages jewelry buyers who are shopping for diamonds to always ask for a diamond grading report from an independent third-party laboratory so that they can better understand the quality of the diamond they are buying. To find an American Gem Society retailer, visit americangemsociety.org/findajeweler.
We often share beautiful images of American Gem Society members’ jewelry. Today, we wanted to take that a step further and give you a sneak peek into their passion for jewelry, the symbolism it represents, and the way it makes them feel. In some cases, we just wanted to give you a glimpse of their humor, with jewelry as their much-adored punchline.
To achieve all that, we asked these five members to give us a quote about jewelry, along with an image of one of their favorite pieces. Enjoy!
Opal brooch from Paula Crevoshay.
Pink tourmaline pendant from Sharon Wei Designs.
Moonstone, sapphire, and diamond ring from Omi Privé.
Custom-designed ring from Michaels Jewelers.
Diamond engagement ring by Tacori.
To find some jewelry inspiration of your own, visit your local American Gem Society (AGS) jeweler. Ask your AGS jeweler if they have a personal saying or a favorite quote about jewelry! You can ask them to show you one of the above pieces or something that inspires you and your imagination. Visit ags.org/findajeweler.
By David Craig Rotenberg, ECGA (AGS), GG (GIA), CSM (NAJA), CAPP (ISA)
Jewelry appraisals are important documents that are required for insurance valuations, the settling of an estate, determining the value for tax deductions for charitable contributions, for casualty loss evaluations, or perhaps the division of property in a divorce.
The appraisal is simply a means of factually communicating what a piece of jewelry is worth. It’s the item’s value assessed by quantitative and qualitative aspects as determined by a skilled professional appraiser. This individual should not only understand the science of valuation, but should be able to properly communicate the background on exactly how he or she arrived at that assessment.
Insurance appraisals are used by insurance companies to determine exactly what cost is required to replace an exact piece of jewelry in the current climate in the event of theft or loss. The appraiser provides a full evaluation of the item, including a detailed description of quality and special nuances of the item. While each insurance company may operate differently, most won’t simply accept purchase receipts since the determined “value” is the key when writing a policy or reimbursing a claim.
It is especially important to have an experienced appraiser when appraising for tax purposes. When someone dies, jewelry must be categorized to determine fair market value in regards to inheritance tax as applied by the IRS. Fair market value is a different determination than replacement value, which you obtain for insurance purposes. In terms of a divorce, an appraisal might be required to help determine equitable distribution of property. Jewelry is part of the “estate” and needs to be categorized for tax purposes.
After you contact a jewelry appraiser, they will sit down with you and review the items you want to be appraised. The condition of an item is extremely important; a broken watch from the 1960s, for instance, might be valued like a typical flea market item while a vintage Rolex in great condition from the same time period would be appraised at what it would bring on the second-hand market. Diamond rings normally have laboratory reports evaluating their quality. New jewelry that is being appraised for insurance purposes should be accompanied by receipts from the store where purchased so the appraiser can refer back to the original jeweler if there are questions.
David Rotenberg in his workshop.
David Rotenberg gives an item a closer inspection.
Finding a Qualified Jewelry Appraiser
You can contact the American Gem Society (AGS) for a list of certified appraisers in your area. Certification by the AGS indicates that the individual is not only a certified appraiser, but also an expert gemologist. The AGS is one of the oldest nonprofits dedicated to consumer protection in the industry. A certification will usually be displayed in the appraiser’s workspace—this certificate required a lot of time and effort and the appraiser will want to show it off!
Other reputable organizations include the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA) and the American Society of Appraisers (ASA). Some people ask if it’s necessary to obtain two appraisals; in most cases, this shouldn’t be necessary, especially if you’re confident you’ve gone to a qualified appraiser.
Over the Years
Before the 1980s, there wasn’t a lot of formal appraisal education and a jeweler might simply assess an item for what they might sell it for in their own showcase. The average jeweler didn’t have a lot of resources—an item might be sold based on what someone told them it was worth.
With the founding of the International Society of Appraisers (ISA) in 1979, appraisal education became more of a studied science. As gemology education blossomed, jewelers were able to conduct research, compile pricing information and attend continuing education as they used their new-found gemological skills for buying and appraisal purposes. Transparency is critical—an appraiser must be able to thoroughly explain how they arrived at a value.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
David Craig Rotenberg is an AGS-certified gemologist appraiser and one of a handful of CAPP (Certified Appraiser of Personal Property) appraisers in gemstones, contemporary jewelry and antique and period jewelry. He is a member of the Jeweler’s Vigilance Committee Appraisal Bar, has studied with the American Arbitration Association, and is past president of the AGS’s Jewelers Education Foundation, founder and past president of the Delaware Valley Keystone Guild and founder and past president of the Delaware Valley chapter of the International Society of Appraisers. Recognized by the Technical Advisory Service for Attorneys (TASA) for his expertise, he is part of the Jeweler’s Vigilance Committee’s appraisal organization and has conducted jewelry appraisals for the U.S. Treasury Department. Most recently, he completed a global leadership program at Harvard University School of Business.
In addition to offering his appraisal services to customers at David Craig Jewelers in Langhorne, PA, David has appraised multi-million dollar inventories for the federal government and many banks. He has conducted evaluations for a large variety of complex estate and bankruptcy matters and fraud investigations. He also operates an AGS-accredited gem lab at David Craig Jewelers.
Why have one diamond when you can have 6,690 diamonds? For a cool $4,116,787, it may be possible. Jewelers Vishal Agarwal and Khushbu Agarwal of Surat, India, have broken the Guinness World Record for most diamonds set in one ring.
The jewelers placed the diamonds onto an 18 karat rose gold structure that is shaped like a lotus flower. The ring weighs just over 58 grams and is the size of a golf ball.
Vishal designed the ring which has 48 individual petals, while Khushbu funded the project. This was not just any record-breaking attempt: the lotus flower style was created in order to raise awareness about the importance of water conservation.
“As fame is so much attached to a Guinness World Records title, we can put it to good use by bringing together like-minded people to work towards a beautiful world,” the jewelers said in a statement.
Guinness World Records posted a video chronicling the creation of the ring, including the cutting and placing of the diamonds. Click here to see this beautiful flower come to life!