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.

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.

Only My Diamond™ Makes Understanding the 4Cs Simple

Hearts On Fire

“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.

Top Jewelry Trends from the Las Vegas Shows

By Jennifer Heebner, Guest Writer

The only thing hotter than the temperature in the Las Vegas desert were the new styles that debuted at the recently held jewelry shows! JCK LUXURY, JCK Las Vegas, and the Couture jewelry show were held at overlapping times between June 2–8 in Sin City, where some of the most significant jewelry in North America debuted to the trade. By fall, shoppers will be finding these pieces in stores. What can you expect to see? Here’s a peek at three looks you’re bound to love.

Convertible Jewelry

Convertible styles—pieces that transform to wear in multiple ways—were the most widely seen looks at the shows. Think two bracelets that unite to form a necklace, or a long necklace that can be worn as a lariat or belt.

For sure, versatility was on the brain at New York City–based design house Gumuchian, which added several convertible styles to its inventory. “We added more delicate motifs that lend themselves to everyday wear and to layering,” explains Jodi Goldsmith, the brand’s public relations and marketing director. Gumuchian’s newest offerings, made in 18k gold, can be worn six different ways.

New Carousel necklace N388DY ways to wear_

All the different ways to wear Gumchian’s convertible Carousel necklace.

Hexagon Silhouettes

Geometry has also been trending for several seasons, and diamond jewelry maker KC Designs, based in New York City, is as smitten with the angular effects as anybody. The brand introduced myriad hexagon shapes to its existing Mosaic jewelry collection of round brilliant and baguette-cut diamonds.

Tiffany Sabo, marketing and sales manager, says the pieces were well received because of the simplicity of the shapes, which are easy to “dress up or down.” Plus, fans like “the openness of the designs,” she says of styles that feature graphic and airy hexagon silhouettes.

KC Designs_R4498

Hexagon-shape open ring from KC Designs.

Single and Mismatched Earrings

These were another standout among many designers, who offered them in both diamond and gemstone variations. The look speaks to the lover of fearless individuality who craves customization. The style? Earrings in pairs or multiples that aren’t identical and offer a brazen, uninhibited, and playful effect that celebrates character and self-expression.

Erica Courtney

Mismatched earrings from Erica Courtney.

Have you been inspired by these three trends? Visit a credentialed American Gem Society Jeweler near you and they’ll help you find the look you love!

Looking at Diamonds in a Different Light

Diamonds have been celebrated for centuries as a symbol of love and status and have been revered throughout the centuries. No wonder there are literally volumes of references to diamonds in fiction and historical tomes.

Though April is in our rearview mirror, we just can’t quite let go of our favorite gem, and in thinking about our obsession, three thoughts struck us that show how special diamonds really are:

Diamonds are the result of both nature and man. They come from the earth, but diamond cutters, who are skilled artisans, turn diamond rough into beautiful works of art.

Case in point: this masterpiece from Forevermark.

solitaire

Diamonds and plants both need light. Plants need light to live. In a way, so do diamonds. The way light travels through a diamond creates sparkle. A well-cut diamond will have more sparkle than one that is poorly cut. Gemologists often refer to this sparkle as “life.”

A well-cut diamond shimmers with life; that because of the light being returned to the eye! Did you know that cut affects the value of a diamond by as much as 50%? A well-cut diamond will appear larger than one of similar size that is not as finely cut.

This well-cut beauty from Carizza also doubles as a show-stopper!

emerald cut

Diamonds can be a symbol of love, status and even purity . . . they are also a symbol of strength: A diamond forms under tremendous heat and pressure, just like human character! It takes billions of years to form a diamond, and while humans don’t have that luxury of forever, we grow and learn from life’s challenges. It’s no wonder that people celebrate their special moments with diamonds. Diamonds are also the most durable of gems, and measure 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness.

Star Gems demonstrates that while a diamond may be tough, the right design can be soft and downright feminine.

marquis

Ask your American Gem Society jeweler to help you find the perfect diamond. Remember, something as rare and precious as a diamond deserves a report from a well-respected diamond grading laboratory. Ask for one from AGS Laboratories, a nonprofit diamond lab created with the AGS mission of consumer protection and the highest standards of grading. Search for an American Gem Society jeweler near you by clicking here.

Cut to the Chase (Part 2)

Jewelry Tweezer And Diamonds

By John Carter, CGA, Jack Lewis Jewelers

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.

ags-scale

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.

aset-pic-1

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.

Clarity Rarity: Crystal Blue Persuasion

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.
3 - 25x crown view

Crown view at 50x magnification.
2b - 50x crown view

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!