When it comes to color, October birthstones give you some amazing choices. Whether you choose opal or tourmaline, you’ll get a display of exciting and intense colors, making them popular choices for jewelry designers and collectors.
The name “opal” derives from the Greek opallos, meaning “to see a change (of color).” They range in color from milky white to black with flashes of yellow, orange, green, red, and blue. An opal’s beauty is the product of contrast between its color play and its background.
Opal is a formation of non-crystalline silica gel that seeped into crevices in the sedimentary strata. Through time and nature’s heating and molding processes, the gel hardened into the form of opals. The opal is composed of particles closely packed in spherical arrangements. When packed together in a regular pattern, a three-dimensional array of spaces is created that gives opal its radiance.
Approximately 90 percent of the world’s precious opal comes from Australia. The following are other countries that produce precious or fancy varieties: Brazil, Mexico, United States, Hungary, Peru, Indonesia, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Ethiopia.
Each opal is totally unique, like fingerprints!! To get a really good look at the opals in these designs, click on the images below for a larger view.
Blue-green black opal and diamond bracelet, by Lightning Ridge Collection.
White opal, aquamarine, and diamond pendant, by Yael Designs.
Australian black opal and diamond ring, by Parlé Gems.
Opal, blue sapphire, and diamond vintage-inspired earrings, by Beverley K.
Since tourmaline is available in a wide variety of colors, it is ideally suited to almost anyone’s taste. It is known for displaying several colors in the same gemstone. These bi-color or tri-color gems are formed in many combinations; the gemstones with clear color distinctions are highly prized.
Tourmaline is found in many localities including Brazil, Afghanistan, East Africa, and the USA.
The following designs feature the varying hues of tourmaline. Click on the images to see a larger view.
Cuprian elbaite tourmaline and diamond ring, by Omi Privé.
Brazilian blue tourmaline and diamond ring, by AG Gems.
Tourmaline and diamond flower pendant, by Atlantic Diamond Company.
When you become engaged, you have so much to plan for! It’s a healthy mix of love, excitement, and anticipation for what has yet to come. And now that you have purchased the engagement ring, do you have plans to insure it?
Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group has created an informative (and fun) flowchart to help you decide whether to insure or not to insure. Click here to learn more!
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.
The American Gem Society (AGS) Suppliers’ Reception and Showcase occurs annually during the American Gem Society’s Conclave, the industry’s premier educational and networking event.
This year’s Conclave was held in Nashville, TN, and the AGS Suppliers’ Reception and Showcase featured 16 AGS members. Below are photos from the highly successful evening, featuring the incredible jewelry and the lovely ladies who modeled them.
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!
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!
Blog article and photos courtesy of the American Gem Society (AGS) member, Jeffrey Daniels Unique Designs and Gem Platinum.
Pretty in pink at Jeffrey Daniels and Gem Platinum means pink sapphires and pink diamonds, with a nod to pink tourmaline. Choose your shade and dive into the fabulous world of pink gemstones. You will never look back.
Pink sapphires are the hot sibling of the gracious deep blue most people associate with sapphires. Electric and alive, pink sapphires are the perfect stone for cocktail rings and a night out on the town.
Cushion cut pink sapphire with diamond halo.
Oval pink sapphire set in a double row diamond halo.
Oval pink sapphire set with taper baguette and round brilliant diamonds.
Hot pink isn’t just for her, the cabochon pink tourmaline ring shown below brings a bit of fun for him too.
Like the pink sapphire, pink tourmaline is not the color commonly associated with this stone. Pink tourmaline is possibly created through the introduction of radiation to the stone during formation. Magnesium also produces pink and red hues in gemstones. Tourmaline comes in a variety of colors and hues outside the olive green it is commonly associated with.
Cabochon pink tourmaline bezel set in rose gold.
The hot pink stone used in the Jeffrey Daniels design above is one of the best examples of pink tourmaline in both color and clarity. Interestingly, some of the best pink tourmaline comes from the Cryo-Genie Mine in San Diego, CA.
Pink Diamonds: Maybe the Prettiest Stones on the Planet
This pink diamond wedding ring from Gem Platinum is a fabulous way to say “I do!” The rose gold setting adds to the elegance and grace of the stones in this eternally classic band.
Pave fancy pink diamond eternity band in 18kt rose gold.
Pink Diamonds are part of the Fancy Diamond category and they are some of the rarest gemstones available. Fancy pink diamonds are graded according to the depth of their pink color: the deeper the color, the more expensive the stone.
Unlike hot pink sapphires, the pink in diamonds is an elegant pastel shade of pink. Radiation introduced during formation is thought to be the driving force behind the pink color in these diamonds. Known also for their clarity and brilliance, pink diamonds larger than 1 carat are very, very rare.
Circular bezel set natural pink diamond bracelet in 18kt gold.
Bezel set pink diamonds surrounded by petals of pear cut white diamonds.
Natural fancy pink radiant diamond set in a floral petal design ring in platinum and 18kt gold.
Since its establishment, AGS member, Gem Platinum, has provided only the finest quality, service and value in its jewelry collection. They continue to be in the forefront of fine traditional jewelry design and craftsmanship incorporating only the finest natural diamonds and gemstones.
Truly unique gemstones require a truly unique setting for their beauty to be revealed. Jeffrey Daniels Unique Designs has created an extraordinary synergy of these concepts by combining his passion for the unusual with an uncompromising eye for detail and design. This collection of one-of-a-kind jewels are the result as no two pieces will ever be alike.
Today, we are lucky to have the ability to insure both our meaningful and much-needed valuables. Who would have thought that one day, we would insure our phones!
This same rule-of-thumb (or rule-of-ring-finger, in this case) should be applied to an engagement ring. From the day it’s purchased, to that special moment it’s placed on your beloved’s finger, anything could happen.
We’ve all seen those nightmarish videos of an engagement ring dropping into the ocean, falling off a bridge, or being left behind in lost luggage. But who is supposed to handle the engagement ring insurance: the bride or groom?
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.
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.