As we turn our calendars to September, we start thinking of things like heading back to school, sipping on a pumpkin spice latte, and planning our fall fashions. For those celebrating a birthday in September, they’re thinking of their birthstone: sapphire!
Although sapphire typically refers to the rich blue gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, this royal gem actually occurs in a rainbow of hues. Sapphires come in every color except red, which would then be classified as ruby.
Trace elements like iron, titanium, chromium, copper, and magnesium give naturally colorless corundum a tint of blue, yellow, purple, orange or green, respectively. Sapphires in any color but blue are called “fancies.”
Pink sapphires, in particular, tow a fine line between ruby and sapphire. In the U.S., these gems must meet a minimum color saturation to be considered rubies. Pinkish orange sapphires called padparadscha (from the Sri Lankan word for “lotus flower”) can actually draw higher prices than some blue sapphires.
Due to the remarkable hardness of sapphires—which measure 9 on the Mohs scale, second only to diamond—they aren’t just valuable in jewelry, but also in industrial applications including scientific instruments, high-durability windows, watches, and electronics.
Sapphires make stunning gifts for anyone born in September or celebrating a 5th or 45th wedding anniversary, so be sure to visit an AGS jeweler. They will help you find that perfect gift, whether you’re seeking the classic blue or another shade from the sapphire rainbow.
Need some inspiration? View this collection of designs featuring the sapphire!
Blue sapphire and diamond necklace, by Nash James Enterprises.
Cloud 9 pink sapphire and diamond drop earrings, by Gumuchian.
Yellow sapphire flanked by two trillion cut diamonds, by AG Gems.
Moments of Magic alternating blue sapphire and diamond bracelet, by Fana.
Versailles earrings featuring blue sapphires and diamonds, by Erica Courtney.
Color-change sapphire ring, by Atlantic Diamond Company.
Sapphire and diamond necklace, by Shula New York.
Padparadscha sapphire and diamond ring, by Omi Privé.
Purple sapphire and diamond ring, by Dilamani.
Multi-gemstone ring featuring blue, pink, yellow, and white sapphires, ruby, tsavorite, and diamonds, by Beverley K.
If you’re looking for a style that takes traditional in a different direction, check out the east-west setting. It’s the lastest jewelry trend that places the gemstone horizontally vs. the classic vertical setting. Whether the cut is oval, pear, marquise, or emerald, the east-west setting will be noticed!
We’re spotlighting a few designs from our AGS members that feature this eye-catching setting. Click on the images to get a closer look at east-west settings in rings and necklaces.
Engagement ring featuring an east-west emerald diamond with pavé halo, by A.Jaffe.
Tanzanite and diamond engagement ring, by Bevelery K.
East-west marquise diamond bypass engagement ring with halo, by Uneek Fine Jewelry.
Emerald cut amethyst with diamond halo, by Dilamani.
Necklace featuring an east-west oval sapphire with diamond halo, by Gabriel & Co.
East-west bracelet with oval diamonds, by Norman Silverman.
Diamond Metropolitan bar necklace, by KC Designs.
Bracelet with solitaire pear-shaped London Blue topaz, by Tacori.
Single emerald cut diamond on a ball chain necklace, by Brevani.
Platinum “Eloise” ring with rose cut diamonds, by Erica Courtney.
Spring is here and we’re ready for some fine jewelry trends to help us celebrate this much-welcome change of season! Now that the weather is warming up, what’s hot? We’ve gathered some season-sensational (We just made that up!) designs from our AGS members.
Quite possibly the most quintessential symbols of spring are flowers, butterflies, and bees. Naturally, their likenesses are found in a variety of fine jewelry designs.
One-of-a-kind, Queen Bee Pendant, by Lord Jewelry.
Butterfly Open Frame band, by Fine Jewels of NYC.
Paraiba tourmaline and diamond flower ring, by Simon G. Jewelry.
Next on the list is chains. Big chains. Little chains. This trend is an ode to the Eighties and they’re everywhere!
Diamond Chain Link hoop earrings, by KC Designs.
Chain Band with diamonds, by Erica Courtney.
Gold and diamond chain cuff, from Sloane Street by Gadbois Jewelry.
It’s been said that pearls never go out of style, but these aren’t your grandmother’s pearls! Modern designs have re-imagined the classic jewelry wardrobe staple.
South Sea cultured pearl and graduated sapphire earrings, by Baggins Pearls.
Golden South Sea pearl pendant with diamonds, by ASBA USA, Inc.
Tricolor white cultured pearl ring with diamonds, by Mastoloni.
The warmer weather has us looking towards the sky and the sea for a much-needed getaway! Both celestial and nautical-themed designs inspire us to seek the outdoors (and beyond) for our next adventure.
The highly-anticipated award season may be over, but keep these glamorous ideas in mind for your next special event! Hair jewelry, drop earrings, statement necklaces, a mix of vintage and modern, and of course, diamonds, were big at the Oscars.
Here are a few pieces from American Gem Society members that will surely turn heads!
Triplicity Golden necklace, by Hearts On Fire.
A bling worthy diamond ring, by Rahaminov Diamonds.
Briolette diamonds dangle from two pear shape diamonds and round diamond studs, by JB Star.
Dramatic vintage sapphire and diamond necklace and earring set at Gleim Jewelers.
Diamond Riviera necklace, by Jeffery Daniels Unique Designs.
Elegant mobile-like earrings featuring Mozambique rubies and diamonds, by AG Gems.
Pear shaped diamond dangle earrings with teardrop “floating” yellow diamonds, by Uneek Fine Jewelry.
A 30.63 ct aquamarine ring flanked by diamonds, from Atlantic Diamond Company.
The “Nirvana” ring, featuring a 6.34 ct rose cut diamond, by Erica Courtney.
Visit any American Gem Society-credentialed jeweler to find a Red Carpet-worthy style that’s right for you! www.ags.org/findajeweler
Whether you’re celebrating a romantic relationship, a forever friendship, or a family bond, Valentine’s Day helps us express the love and devotion we have for one another.
Of course, it’s been said that “Every day should be Valentine’s Day,” yet there’s something about February 14 that gives us that extra boost of affection. There is also the anticipation and expectation of giving and receiving a heartfelt memento that marks the significance of this annual occasion.
We have a few gift ideas that are apropos for the holiday. Here are a few examples from some American Gem Society (AGS) members:
Where did you first meet? Rose gold heart map pendant with diamond border, by A.Jaffe.
Spell it out with this sterling silver bracelet featuring a ruby-cluster heart, by Gabriel & Co.
Vintage-style romance! Morganite, pink sapphire, and diamond ring, by Beverley K.
Whisper sweet nothings in my ear. Fulfillment heart diamond studs, by Hearts On Fire.
You’ve been shot by Cupid’s arrow! Diamond bow and arrow necklace, by KC Designs.
I love you for all eternity! Eternità diamond bracelet, from DIAMONDS by kathy ireland®.
Forever entwined. Two-tone twist diamond anniversary band, by Simon G.
Je t’aime! French cut mosaic pink sapphire and diamond earrings, by Armadani.
A great gift idea to add to throughout the year! Stackable eternity rings, by Erica Courtney.
Have any of the above designs given you some ideas or do you have something else in mind? An AGS-credentialed jeweler is happy to help! Find a jeweler near you.
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.
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!
Cushion cut pink spinel and diamond ring, by Omi Privé.
The 18k gold “Eva” ring features Paraíba tourmaline, demantoid garnet, and diamonds, by Erica Courtney.
This ring, by Le Vian, features Chocolate Diamonds® and Vanilla Diamonds®.
Russian demantoid and diamond ring, by Michael Schofield & Co.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Charm Stack rings by Jade Trau.
Round pave millgrain Eternity Slip Bangle by Diabella Jewelry.
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.
Standing 14k yellow gold horse necklace with diamonds, by Shula New York.
#Loved 18k yellow gold and diamond pendant by Carelle.
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!
Diamond Starburst Cliffhanger earrings by KC Designs.
Bezel Huggies in 18k yellow gold set with gray sapphires, by Erica Courtney.
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!
“Gossip” briolette gemstone chain earrings with diamonds by Goshwara.
Yellow beryl, brown diamond, and golden South Sea pearl earrings by Baggins, Inc.
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.
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!
A 78ct tanzanite pendant by TAKAT.
“Ohrid” tanzanite and diamond earrings by Yael Designs.
Tanzanite carved ring by Goshwara.
White and rose gold pendant by Simon G. Jewelry featuring tanzanite.
Trillion-cut tanzanite and diamond earrings by AG Gems.
The “Coco Ring” by Erica Courtney features tanzanite accented with diamonds.
“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.”
“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.
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.
Alexandrite and diamond pendant by Omi Privé.
Gemstones generally can be grouped into three major clarity categories:
Gems that are flawless or have very minor inclusions (e.g. aquamarines and amethysts)
Gems that are moderately included (e.g. rubies and sapphires)
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.
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.
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!