Choose it for Love. Buy it From a Titleholder.

By Alethea Inns, CGA,
Director of Gemology and Education, American Gem Society

Buying jewelry can be intimidating—it’s a bit like buying a home. It’s a big purchase and you need help from qualified professionals—that you trust—to close the deal. And it’s an emotional purchase; it can represent a big life change.

This is experience talking. I recently bought my first house. It was scary. How was I supposed to spend so much money on something that was so unknown? I had the comps, knew the area, knew the specs of the house and all the data and statistics. But that wasn’t enough. How did I know if there weren’t issues that I couldn’t see? What if the foundation was cracked, or there was mold behind the walls? What if there was a weird smell no one knew the cause of?

That’s why I brought in the experts. I had an amazing real estate agent who knew the area and even researched the owners. I had an appraiser that was ethical who refused to raise the appraised value of the house beyond what he thought was fair. I had an inspector who I trusted to come in and point out every little issue that could be a problem later on.

These professionals were people that I trusted. I knew they had their professional credentials and licenses. They were experts in their fields and most importantly, upheld standards of practice.

This is the exact same reason why you need an American Gem Society (AGS) jeweler when making a jewelry purchase.

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These jewelers are AGS titleholders, which means they are professionals who have pre-requisite gemological or jewelry industry education, verified by the AGS, and then tested by the AGS in their proficiency to grade diamonds. Not only that, they are required to write a Recertification Exam every year to ensure they are up-to-date on the most recent developments in the jewelry industry. If they do not take the annual exam, they cannot maintain their title.

More than being knowledgeable, AGS titleholders are also required to sign an ethics agreement every year and are required to uphold the AGS standards for protecting you, the customer, every day, and in every interaction.

Why shop with an AGS jeweler?

For the same reason you see a certified professional accountant (CPA) to do your taxes, or a doctor that not only has a medical degree, but has their board certification, or the reason you rely on experts with any major purchase, investment, or life event.

An AGS jeweler is there to protect you, their customer. They are there to give you the information you need to make an informed buying decision. Yes, they are there to sell you jewelry, but more than that, they are there to share their passion for jewelry and help you celebrate the moments and reason you walked into their store in the first place.

Ask your jeweler, “Are you an AGS jeweler?” If not, find one that is.

As a credentialed gemologist, Alethea has some favorite gemstones, although it’s not easy to narrow the list down to just a few. Click below to get a closer look at these beautiful gems!

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?

Four Fun Jewelry Trends for the Holidays and Beyond

It’s that time of year when we start thinking of those near and dear and begin to research some gifts for the holidays. Because we love fine jewelry so much, we’ve come up with a few ideas just for you! These lovely items are hot for the holidays and beyond. That’s the beauty of fine jewelry: it makes a gift that keeps on giving for generations to come!

Layer the Love

Whether it’s rings, bracelets, or necklaces, combining and layering two or more at a time is a wonderful way to display your favorite pieces. These make a great gift because you can add to the collection over time.

Personal Pendants Have Personality

The personalized pendant made its comeback when Carrie Bradshaw proudly wore her “Carrie” pendant on Sex in the City. If you don’t want to wear your name on your neck, there are plenty of special pendants that help show off your personality, plus they look lovely in layers! Ask your jeweler about helping you customize a pendant.

Essentials for the Ears

Take a look at anyone’s earring collection, and you’re bound to find several pairs of studs. They are a necessity! But what about the other essentials for the ears, like hoops, huggies, and even ear climbers? Here are a few to add to the wishlist!

She’ll Long for Long Earrings

Once the earring essentials are covered, how about adding a few fun and fashionable long earrings. These pretty pairs can be taken from daytime to nighttime. If you’re looking to make a statement, pick a pair with cascading color or dangling diamonds!

 

We hope these ideas (and hints) will give you a good start on your holiday shopping. Be sure to shop with a trusted jeweler. Click here to find an AGS-credentialed jeweler near you.

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!

The World of Colored Gems

By Gleim the Jeweler

The jeweler allows me to wear the sapphire blue lake on my finger, emerald green leaves around my neck, and take the citrine sunset with me wherever I go. Jewelry has become my daytime link to nature in an office with no windows. And if I have to work late, there’s nothing like diamond stars and a pearl full moon against an onyx night sky.

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“Gossip” emerald cut three stone rings by Goshwara.

This wonderful quotation, by author Astrid Alauda, perfectly expresses the emotional connection that has been provided by colored gemstones for thousands of years.

Fine colored gemstones have been revered throughout history. Gemstones have been imbued with the power to foretell events, strengthen memory, quicken intelligence, ensure purity, avert lightning, prevent intoxication, ensure happiness and are often equated to the fountain of youth.

What Defines a Colored Gemstone?

Colored gemstones are described as all the various gemstones except for diamonds. Only a select few of the vast number of minerals known qualify as gemstones. In order to become a gemstone, the mineral must be rare and beautiful and be durable enough to be worn as jewelry.

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Blue sapphire ring by AG Gems.

Precious vs. Semi-Precious Gems?

In the past, the term “precious” was used to describe diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire. The term “semi-precious” referred to all other gemstones. Today, most jewelers and gemologists agree that these terms no longer accurately reflect the true value of these gems. In particular, some species of colored gems, such as alexandrite or demantoid garnet, are so rare that they have been known to command prices exceeding those of emerald, ruby, and even diamonds.

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Alexandrite and diamond pendant by Omi Privé.

Gemstones generally can be grouped into three major clarity categories:

  1. Gems that are flawless or have very minor inclusions (e.g. aquamarines and amethysts)
  2. Gems that are moderately included (e.g. rubies and sapphires)
  3. Gems that tend to be highly included (e.g. emeralds and red tourmalines)

Color is the single most important deciding factor in determining the value of a gemstone, followed by the cut. The cut of a gemstone is designed to bring out the best possible color or colors in the rough uncut material while retaining as much weight as possible. The color in a fine gem is saturated evenly throughout the stone and is of a brilliant deep, rich, and pleasing color—not too dark and not too light.

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Indicolite earrings by Erica Courtney.

Each variety of colored gemstone has a range of highly prized colors that have evolved over the years. Many of these colors are tied to historical sources such as “Burmese” rubies from Burma, “Kashmir” sapphires from India, and “Persian” turquoise. This is by no means a sure bet. Not all rubies from Burma have the “Burmese” signature color and furthermore, you may find a fine color from a ruby that was mined in Thailand.

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Cushion cut Mozambican Ruby ring by Real Gems Inc.

Ultimately the wearer decides what color speaks to them, keeping in mind that this may not be that color defined as being the most valuable. Since we all perceive color differently it’s ultimately a very personal choice.

Today, with the ever-increasing advances in gemstone enhancements and synthetic gemstone production, it is more important than ever to work with a reputable and properly trained jeweler.

About Gleim the Jeweler

We have been serving the Peninsula since 1931 and have been members of the American Gem Society (AGS) since 1954. Our membership with the AGS assures you that we earn and maintain the education necessary to provide you with the most up to date information about gems and their different markets.

We also have American Gem Society Accredited Gem Laboratories, assuring you that we have the proper instruments to identify and grade gems. And, what’s perhaps most important, we love colored gems!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

The 2017 Pantone Color of the Year is…

By Isabelle Corvin, CG, Staff Gemologist at Panowicz Jewelers

Greenery!

It has been some time since a green hue has been chosen as the color of the year, and this version—a bright shade with just a hint of yellow—is a refreshing color indeed!

pantone-greeneryPantone says it was chosen as a symbolic color of new beginnings and renewal, a calming hue to soothe and relax, and a call to reconnect with the world around us. Indeed, Greenery reminds us of nature, and few things calm like plants and animals.

The color will be coming to the forefront of all things fashionable this year; clothes, interior décor and of course, jewelry.

Gems that embody this color are reviving peridot, versatile tourmaline, vibrant tsavorite garnet and of course, comforting emerald. In fact, emeralds have been a symbol of renewal and growth for ages, as well as wealth and status.

Alternately, peridot is considered the gem of the sun, while garnets and tourmalines have many meanings and supposed health benefits.

Certainly, all gems that match this sublime “Greenery” represent nature at its finest.

The color green, at its scientific core, is a color between blue and yellow, a mixture of those two opposing colors, if you will. The word, “green”, is thought to be derived from Middle English or possibly Germanic roots, most likely meaning, “grass” or “roots.”

In many cultures and languages, green and blue often have similar names associated with the color, making it a great transition from last year’s Pantone color of the year, Serenity (a soft blue).

Science has proven that green is restful on the eyes, balancing to emotions and also helps combat fatigue.

Green is surprisingly hard to “copy” from nature’s mix to create pigments and dyes, including food coloring. Older methods included finely powdered malachite, another gemstone, to create stains.

Historically, green has an interesting history; in more arid locations, the color was one of hope for things to come and rebirth. The Egyptians used the color often, even going so far as to characterize some of their deities with green skin.

The Greeks weren’t overly fond of the color and rarely used it in artistic purists. The Romans, however, linked the color to their goddess, Venus, who was the goddess of love and nature, thus making the color more romantic.

During the Renaissance, where clothing colors denoted social status and occupation, green tones were worn primarily by merchants and bankers. It was a featured clothing color in many famous paintings of the era, including Mona Lisa, who wears a shade of darker, muted green.

The Masonic orders use green to symbolize immortality of all that is divine and true. Since the natural aspect of the color is unchanging, it is considered an immutable color.

In terms of jewelry, green was a popular color in both the Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras. In the former, it was used for accents of sweeping, nature-inspired designs that dominated the movement.

In the latter it was often used as a striking aside to other colors, using the bolder, darker hues of the color rather than the light and airy versions.

Greenery may seem like an odd choice…until the plants bloom once more. As spring hits, sooner rather than later, green becomes the prominent color we see. It is a surprisingly balanced color, managing to be both soft and bold. It is a romantic color, when you think about it, and invokes emotions when seen.

We all need a connection to nature in some form, and Greenery gives us that connection with our most obvious sense, sight.

And when it is seen, it is felt.

To see green colors is to feel them, and to wear a gemstone that holds such a deep tie to the world around us grounds us, makes us feel.

Wearing green jewelry is sure to help you feel at peace throughout your day. Who doesn’t need to feel relaxed during hectic and overfull days?

Embrace a green gemstone, make it your own and begin to enjoy 2017’s color, Greenery!

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Isabelle Corvin is an AGS Certified Gemologist (CG) who is the Staff Gemologist at Panowicz Jewelers. Since she was 14-years-old, she knew she wanted to be a gemologist. Ms. Corvin also writes for Panowicz Jewelers’ blog.