Seeing Green: The Perfect Jewelry for St. Patrick’s Day

Blog article courtesy of the American Gem Society (AGS) member, Malak Jewelers. Featured photos were contributed by members of the AGS.

Art Deco emerald and diamond bracelet by Nash James.

Art Deco emerald and diamond bracelet by Nash James.

Throughout the world on March 17th, the streets fill with laughter, dancing, and most of all, the color green.  St. Patrick’s Day began as a religious feast day observing the death of St. Patrick. But now it has turned into a variety of festivals across the globe, celebrating Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, and a whole lot of green.

If you are at a loss for what green to wear, or just want to add more green to your outfit, here are four of the most well-known green gemstones that will add sparkle and color to your St. Patrick’s Day.

EMERALDS

Emeralds were first found in Egypt in 330 B.C. The name “emerald” derives from the Greek word smaragdos, which was a term used to refer to the greenest of gems. Emeralds can come in varying shades of green and some feature blueish hints. The green color comes from trace amounts of chromium and vanadium in the mineral beryl. Its color symbolizes the rebirth and renewal of spring, and that is why it is the birthstone for the month of May. It’s also a popular gem for the 20th and 35th wedding anniversary.

Emeralds are typically formed in six-sided prisms, so they are naturally suited for the emerald cut for jewelry. They are mostly found in Colombia, Zambia, Brazil, and Zimbabwe. North Carolina is also a minor source for emeralds.

PERIDOT

Peridot’s name comes from the Arabic term faridat which means “gem.” Peridots were referred to as the gem of the sun by the Egyptians because of its bright color, which ranges from light to dark green and yellowish green. Most commonly it is seen in pale olive but can be bright golden lime. The mesmerizing color comes from trace amounts of iron within the mineral.

Peridot is the birthstone for August and the gem for the 16th wedding anniversary. The leading producer of peridots is in the San Carlos Indian reservation in Arizona.

ALEXANDRITE

The first alexandrites were discovered in Russia in the 1830s. The gemstone is named after Czar Alexander II. It is often described as “emeralds by day and rubies by night” because it is blueish, green in the daylight and purplish, red in incandescent light. Alexandrites change color because they are a rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl. This gem provides dramatic proof of how a light source can affect the color of gemstones.

If you know of any June babies or a happy couple celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary, then alexandrite makes a treasured gift!

JADE- JADEITE

The names “jade” and “jadeite” come from the Spanish phrase piedra de ijada meaning, “stone of the lions.” They may sound similar, but they have totally different chemical, optical, and physical properties, with jadeite being the more valuable of the two.

Most of the classic jade (nephrite jade) comes from China, whereas Myanmar is the main source for jadeite. Jadeites are held in high regard throughout the Asian culture. And in China, nephrite jade is a symbol for purity, good luck, and prosperity. Jadeites come in varying shades of green. The most valuable jadeites are pure “imperial” green, which equals the intensity of emeralds.

 

Malak Jewelers
Malak Jewelers is Charlotte, North Carolina’s premier direct diamond importer, supplier of loose diamonds, and custom design jewelry

Aquamarine: the Cure for the Madness of March

Historically speaking, March is an unusual month. It’s a time of transition, from winter blues to the summertime blue of swimming pools. It’s a windy month, too, and the weather can be fickle as one day is cold and the next is warm. It’s supposed to be the first month of spring, but sometimes it feels like the final month of winter.

Even literature has a conflicted relationship with the month. Shakespeare warned Caesar to “Beware the ides of March” in his eponymous play, “Julius Caesar.”

Despite the ups and downs of March, there is one bright, shining and beautiful factor. Aquamarine.

It’s a word which evokes the sea.

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Beautiful aquamarine gems. Courtesy of Suna Bros.

Aquamarine is most often light in tone and ranges from greenish blue to blue-green; the color usually is more intense in larger stones, and darker blue stones are very valuable. This gemstone is mined mainly in Brazil but also is found in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique.

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Aquamarine and diamond ring from Suna Bros.

Like emeralds, this gemstone is a variety of a mineral called beryl. Large stones have been found all over the world, including one stone found in Brazil that weighed over 240 pounds. Aquamarine grows in large, six-sided crystals that can be up to a foot long, making it a great gem to be cut and polished in larger carats for statement pieces.

Not only is aquamarine one of the March birthstones, it’s also used to celebrate 19th wedding anniversaries. It’s a beautiful stone with little or no yellow in it, so it looks great in many settings with different colored metals and gemstones.

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Opal pendant surrounded by aquamarine and diamonds. From Yael Designs.

First, visit an AGS jeweler, who will be happy to help you pick out the perfect piece. Next, look at the stone’s cut. Since aquamarine can be very lightly colored (and sometimes appear almost colorless), the cut is very important to the overall appearance of the stone and how saturated, or even, the color appears.

Of course, choose the color that most appeals to you, however, it’s generally accepted that lighter colored aquamarines are less valuable than the stronger, deeper hues of blue or blue-green.

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Aquamarine and diamonds in a gold setting.
From Erica Courtney Jewelry

Next, take a look at the stone’s clarity. Most cut gems do not have inclusions that are visible to the eye, and some rarer or more expensive aquamarines are available without visible inclusions, as well.

Since aquamarine crystals can grow to be quite large, larger cut gemstones are possible to purchase as a part of beautiful statement pieces. While you may not be looking to buy in that range, even smaller aquamarines make for lovely solitaires or companion jewels in larger pieces.

Ready to see aquamarine up-close and in person? Find an AGS Jewler here. Just don’t forget to bring your jacket. . . or not. It’s March, after all. Who knows what the weather will be like?

Tips from Jewelers Mutual: Compare Ten Diamond Shapes by Carat Weight

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You’ve heard about lucky brides getting a 5-carat diamond ring. Just how large is that though? What do five carats look like?

Download the Diamond Carat Size Chart by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group. It will give you a visual comparison of ideal cut diamonds in the ten most popular shapes. It also lists the actual diameters of each diamond. Click here to download your own copy!

Top Five Engagement Ring Trends for 2018

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.

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.

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!

 

Rose Gold Rings

The soft, warm glow of rose gold could give any diamond engagement ring that extra touch of romance.

 

Three-Stone Ring

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.

 

Do you have a favorite style or an idea of your own design? Visit an AGS-credentialed jeweler near you.

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!

 

*source: https://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-ideas/top-10-most-popular-dates-to-get-engaged

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!

Gemstone Spotlight: Tanzanite

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Pear shape tanzanite and diamond ring by United Color Gems.

We often come across a gemstone that inspires us to learn more about its origins and history, as we search out jewelry designs that feature it. Today’s blog spotlights the alternative birthstone for a month other than this one, December. We’re referring to tanzanite.

Tanzanite is the exquisite blue variety of the mineral zoisite that is only found in one part of the world. Named for its limited geographic origin in Tanzania, tanzanite has quickly risen to popularity since its relatively recent discovery.

Zoisite had been around more than a century and a half before this rare blue variety was found in 1967. Trace amounts of vanadium, mixed with extreme heat, cause the blue color – which ranges from pale blue to intense ultramarine with violet undertones.

Due to pleochroism—an optical phenomenon in which a substance displays different colors when seen from different angles—tanzanite must be cut properly to highlight the more attractive blue and violet hues, and deemphasize the undesirable brown tones.

The majority of tanzanite on the market today is heat treated to minimize the brown colors found naturally and to enhance the blue shades that can rival sapphire.

Tanzanite is still only found on a few square miles of land in Tanzania, near majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. Its price and availability are directly tied to mines in this region.

Between its deep blue color and its limited supply, tanzanite is treasured by many—whether you happen to be born in December or not!

 

If you’re drawn to the eye-catching blue, violet, and purple hues of tanzanite, contact an AGS credentialed jeweler near you to find a design that best suits you!

How to Rock Stackable Rings Like A Pro

By Uneek Fine Jewelry

Stackable rings are a trend that has definitely been re-emerging in the last year and we are loving it! Whether you’re having a dinner date, a night out with the girls, or a business meeting, there is a stackable ring style that is appropriate for you. Here are our tips on stacking rings like a pro for any event:

Keep It Simple

An important key to remember is to be simple. Using small bands to accent instead of chunky pieces. These simple touches will not only stand out but also create symmetry to your look. To ensure the complete chic stack, be sure they keep it symmetrical and not to clutter all your rings on one finger…share the love!

Mix & Match

You’ve always heard not to wear gold and silver jewelry but we are here to tell you that…they are all wrong! Mixing metals can create a cohesive glow that also looks great with your summer tan or favorite fall-colored clothing. More importantly, who doesn’t love a fashionista who is willing to take some risks from time to time?

Playing With Shapes

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different designs and shapes. Bold diamond bands paired with fun geometric designs complete a playful, yet sophisticated look. For the ethereal look, pair diamond bands with our dainty laurel bands [pictured below].

Stay True to You

Some of us are a little more conservative while some of us like to explore styles and fashions more often. No matter the case, it is important to stay true to your personality. Maybe one to two rings are all you need but perhaps another day you’re feeling that bohemian vibe where you want to pile on every finger. Don’t worry, the rings are here to support whichever look you’re feeling.

Are you ready to rock your own stacking style? Contact a certified AGS jeweler near you.

About Uneek Fine Jewelry

Established in 1996, Uneek Fine Jewelry has emerged as an unparalleled standard in fine diamond jewelry. The reasons will be evident once you see and experience the extraordinary detail, intricate workmanship and breathtaking designs in their extensive bridal, color and fashion collections.