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!

August’s Trio of Distinctive Gemstones

It’s been a year since spinel was added to August’s birthstone line up. Those celebrating a birthday during the eighth calendar month now have three gemstone choices: peridot, sardonyx, and spinel.

Spinel

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Blue spinel by Gem 2000.

For those who are still unfamiliar with spinel, it is often assumed to be other gemstones, like ruby or sapphire.  Cobalt blue, like the one above, is one of the most desired colors. But it can be found in a variety of colors, such as the much coveted red, as well as black, violet blue, greenish blue, grayish, pale pink, mauve, yellow or brown. Spinel can also be found in various cuts, like octagons, trillions, squares, rounds and fancy shapes, like ovals, pears, and cushions.

No matter what the shape, spinel is spectacular! Take a look at these designs by our AGS members. Click on the images for a closer view.

 

Peridot

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Peridot by Gem 2000.

The verdant peridot is the gemstone most commonly associated with August. Peridot’s recognizable green hue could sometimes vary from yellowish-green to olive to brownish green, contingent on how much iron is present. Yet the finest peridot is a brilliant green without any hints of brown or yellow.

Our AGS members will help you find the perfect peridot for you! Click on the images for a closer view.

 

Sardonyx

Sardonyx

Since as far back as Roman times, sardonyx has been highly valued as a stone representing strength, courage, happiness, and clear communication.

The unique reddish, zebra-striped banding of sardonyx stands out beautifully when the stone is smoothed, so it is often cut in cabochon and worn as beads or featured in an eye-catching pendant or ring.

Sardonyx makes a great gift for those born in August who want something a little different than the traditional birthstone. Readily available and relatively inexpensive, sardonyx makes an affordable addition to anyone’s collection.

If you’d like to add spinel, peridot, or sardonyx to your jewelry wardrobe, contact a credentialed AGS jeweler near you!

Silver Shines On

By Robin Skibicki

The popularity of silver jewelry never seems to ebb, as designers are finding new and artistic ways to style the affordable and malleable metal. Whether silver is mixed with other metals or set with diamonds and gemstones, it’s a go-to look that complements a wide range of colors and styles.

For centuries, silver has been prized for its incredible luster and workability. In this industry, we naturally think of it as a versatile metal used to design beautiful jewelry. But it’s also applied towards technology and industry, used in the home, and often considered for investment purposes.

Pure silver is highly tarnish-resistant but is too soft to use for jewelry design. Other metals like copper, nickel, or zinc, are added to harden silver. For example, sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% another metal. Silver products sometimes may be marked “925” which means that 925 parts per thousand are pure silver.

Some jewelry may be described as silverplate: a layer of silver is bonded to a base metal. According to the law, quality-marked silver also must bear the name or a U.S. registered trademark of the company or person that will stand behind the mark.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive metal for your fine jewelry, silver is a good choice. Since silver is soft and scratches easily, it’s best used for jewelry that is not worn daily.

The versatile beauty of silver is showcased in these designs by our credentialed AGS members.

Michael Schofield & Co.

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A twin fish motif artfully decorates a sterling silver cuff.

 

Breuning

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Petals of silver and silver coated with yellow gold feature a sapphire center.

 

MK Diamonds & Jewelry

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Sterling silver earrings featuring pear-cut blue topaz and blue sapphires set in black rhodium sterling silver.

 

Parlé

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Sterling silver Australian boulder opal and sapphire pendant.

 

Ed Levin Jewelry

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Sterling silver Secret Heart Bracelet “swings open” to reveal a secret heart.

If you’re in the market for silver jewelry—perhaps you like one of the designs pictured above—or have some silver jewelry that needs some TLC, visit a credentialed AGS jeweler near you.

Four Fun Facts About January’s Gemstone

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Rhodolite garnet and emerald sunbeam earrings by Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry.

If you’re celebrating a birthday or any special occasion this month, then the garnet is a worthy addition to your fine jewelry wardrobe. Here are four fun facts about the colorific January gem:

1. Not all garnets are red.

Garnet is actually the name of a group of minerals that comes in a rainbow of colors, from the deep red of the Pyrope garnet to the vibrant green of Tsavorites. Some rare garnets are even blue, colorless, or—most rare of all—change colors in different lights. But the most common color is a beautiful range of reds, from rust colored to deep violet-red.

2. It’s more than just a gemstone.

For thousands of years, the garnet has lived a glamorous life as a gemstone. But in the past 150 years, it has also been put to the test as an effective industrial mineral. In the United States, garnet has been utilized for waterjet cutting, abrasive blasting, and filtration.

3. Their inclusions make them unique.

Some garnets have inclusions that are part of the beauty of the overall stone (like “horsetails” in Demantoid garnets, or Hessonite garnets which sometimes have a “turbulent” look). So you may discover that you like the distinctive look these inclusions bring to the piece.

4. Garnets have been around for a very long time.

The garnet is so durable, remnants of garnet jewelry can be found as far back as the Bronze Age. Other references go back to 3100 BC when the Egyptians used garnet as inlays in their jewelry and carvings. The Egyptians even said it was the symbol of life. The garnet was very popular with the Romans in the 3rd and 4th Century.

Today, the garnet can be found in a range of jewelry pieces and styles, from beautiful rings to stunning tiaras. Since the garnet can come in a range of colors, rare garnets in green or blue make breathtaking pieces, especially in pendants or drop earrings.

Here are a few designs from AGS members featuring the many colors of the garnet. Click on the images for a larger view.

To learn more about the wide range of garnet color options and to pick the perfect piece, search for an AGS jeweler near you!

Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Every Dad

By Robin Skibicki

Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 19. If you haven’t thought about a gift for your dear Dad, we have a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Just like Mom, Dad appreciates a gift of quality that will last a lifetime. Styles and trends may come and go, so be sure to find something that fits your Dad’s personality and lifestyle.

The Fun & Funky Father

This is the Dad who always has a fun story to share, a silly joke to tell, and got a kick out of embarrassing you when you were a kid! The Triangle Puzzle Ring by Mark Schneider matches this fun personality. Its two-tone 14k white and yellow gold with 0.205ctw diamonds.

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Looking for something different and slightly exotic? The Legends Naga Dragon Head bracelet by John Hardy is sterling silver and 18K bonded gold. The eyes are set with African rubies.

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The Fan-atic Father

If your Dad is a sports fan, he’ll cheer for these two sporty styles by Lashbrook Designs. Die-hard baseball fan? Go with the cobalt chrome 8mm band with baseball “stitching.” Dedicated basketball fan? Pick the titanium 8mm domed band with the basketball pattern.

The Fit Father

For men who live a very active lifestyle, purchase titanium jewelry. It’s the hardest of the metals, therefore more scratch, dent and bend resistant. Hearts On Fire designed this durable yet lightweight gray titanium ring. It’s highlighted by a cable rope running through the center, and one small, single diamond.

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The Factual Father

He likes to keep things simple. John Hardy designed a reversible, flat chain bracelet that’s sterling silver on one side and bronze on the other. Who doesn’t appreciate the versatility and convenience of reversible jewelry?

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Two-toned designs are very popular because they work with any look. The Grand Signature Bracelet by Ed Levin Jewelry is sporty, comfortable, classic and bold. No fuss, no muss.

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The Formal Father

The French cuff, whether worn with a business suit or a tux, always lends a formal feel to any look. Add a pair of stylish cufflinks, like these sterling silver and genuine onyx links by Stuller, for a finished touch!

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Dad deserves some bling, too! This design by Unique Settings of New York is timeless and stylish, with just the right amount of sparkle.

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The Futuristic Father

He’s all about technology. The car, the appliances, the gadgets—all must be wired into something…and each other! Whether you understand it or not, show your support for his love of innovation.

Royal Asscher carries a unique design collection called Stars of Africa. They have encased their exquisite diamonds and colored gems inside a dome, giving them freedom to move and sparkle. Dad ought to be fascinated with these sterling silver cufflinks housing blue sapphires.

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Dad is going to think this is cool! Steven Kretchmer designed a tri-band ring using Polarium™, their magnetic platinum alloy. The three 7.5mm magnetic bands have a matte finish with rounded edges, with the middle component featuring a stripe of 24k crystallized gold inlay.

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Need some more ideas? Use our online Find a Jeweler search to locate an AGS credentialed jeweler near you. Our highly trained and educated jewelers will help guide you through the buying process and answer any questions you may have. Enjoy celebrating this day dedicated to Dad!