Celebrate the Year of the Dog

Today we celebrate the Chinese New Year and are very excited that it’s the Year of the Dog! Were you born during the Year of the Dog? See if your birth year is on this list:

1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, (2018, 2030)

The Dog is the eleventh animal of the Chinese zodiac and as no surprise to those who love the cuddly canine companion, anyone born under the Dog sign is considered honest, loyal, and is the truest friend and most reliable partner. They’re also very good at helping others find and fix their bad habits. Good to know!

Here at the American Gem Society (AGS), we happen to love dogs just as much as we love jewelry and gemstones. A few of our members have expressed their affections for man’s best friend in their designs.

 

Oh — and the team at the AGS would never pass up an opportunity to share photos of their adorable pups!

 

If you’re in search of dog-themed jewelry that pays homage to your favorite hound, be sure to visit an AGS-credentialed jeweler near you!

For the Love of Amethyst

February is here: the month of love, and a much-loved birthstone, amethyst. Amethyst is purple quartz that exhibits a beautiful blend of violet and red that can be found in every corner of the earth. Recently, Pantone has placed amethyst (and other purple-hued gemstones) in the spotlight by naming UltraViolet the 2018 Pantone Color of the Year.

It has been associated with many myths, legends, religions, and numerous cultures. Some historical accounts say that Saint Valentine had an amethyst ring carved with an image of Cupid. How apropos!

While amethyst is most commonly recognized to be a purple color, the gemstone can actually range from a light pinkish violet to a deep purple that can read more blue or red, depending on the light. Sometimes, amethyst exhibits a growth anomaly called zoning, which appears as bands of color that range from lighter to darker, or even colorless.

All the science and stories behind the amethyst can be fascinating, but many wearers have simply fallen in love with its rich and peaceful purple hues. Below are a few designs by AGS members that display amethyst in all its purple majesty!

 

You don’t have to be born in February or celebrating a sixth wedding anniversary to feel some amoré for amethyst. Ask an AGS-credentialed jeweler near you to help pair you with the perfect purple piece of your own!

Top Five Engagement Ring Trends for 2018

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.

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.

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!

 

Rose Gold Rings

The soft, warm glow of rose gold could give any diamond engagement ring that extra touch of romance.

 

Three-Stone Ring

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.

 

Do you have a favorite style or an idea of your own design? Visit an AGS-credentialed jeweler near you.

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!

 

*source: https://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-ideas/top-10-most-popular-dates-to-get-engaged

Garnets – Warm, Strong & Mysterious

By Isabelle Corvin, CG, Staff Gemologist at Panowicz Jewelers

Happy birthday, January babies!

Born the first month of the year, you get to start with a celebration of life. Ignore the dreary weather with a warm garnet as your birthstone!

A somewhat under-appreciated jewel, garnets hold a mystery and allure all their own. A group of closely related species, the garnet family of gems is vast and varied.

  • Everything from classic Pyrope and Almandite; the traditional reds, from dark to light, sometimes slightly brownish, to Rhodolite, a shy little stone with flirty edges of purple added to red
  • Then there are members like cool Tsavorite, the vivid to minty green rebel striking out and being different
  • Demantoid, the fun-loving gem in yellowish-green colors with fire like a diamond
  • Don’t forget Spessartite, the flashy and robust gem of bright orange
  • And Hessanite, a softer, “honey” color, often hiding amid the rest of the group
  • In fact, Garnets come in every shade BUT blue!
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Garnets in a variety of colors by Underwood’s Fine Jewelry.

Throughout history, garnets have been known as stones of warmth, strength, and mystery. The most common color, a deep red, was popular in many cultures and used in a variety of items—not just jewelry.

It was the most popular stone for adornment and inlays in the late Antique Roman period, and a strand of garnet beads was found in an Egyptian tomb dating back some 5,000 years.

It was said to be a stone of valor, that wearing it as an amulet gave someone strength and enhanced bravery. It was also connected with love due to the color, and no surprise, it was associated with the element of fire.

There is a legend that Noah didn’t use lanterns in the Ark—he hung garnets. They were said to glow due to their inner fire and throughout the entire voyage of the ark, stayed lit.

In more modern times, garnets are associated with Capricorn, the zodiac sign, and are believed to help with strengthening both emotions and the physical.

In a more science-based outlook, garnets are used as abrasives in many fields.

Garnets are one of the few gems that display their full, natural color; no treatments are done to enhance or alter them.

Depending upon the type of the garnet, they can be found in many locations around the globe. They usually form in a cubic structure, like squares piled on top of one another.

Garnets are anything but plain or ordinary, and with a wide range of colors to choose from, there’s a member of the family that’s right for everyone. It shines on after years and carries with it ancient history.

It’s a pretty bauble and a treasured talisman. No matter how melancholy the weather may be this time of year, you can rest assure that a garnet will brighten up your day!

The American Gem Society’s Director of Marketing wanted to show off her favorite pieces of jewelry which happen to feature garnet! The earrings and ring were both designed by AGS member, M.J. Christensen.

 

Tips from Jewelers Mutual: 3 Major Jewelry Bloggers Share Their Travel Secrets

Woman packing suitcase

Packing for any trip, whether work-related or for pleasure, can bring a tinge of anxiety to even the most seasoned traveler. What’s going to be comfortable and doesn’t need ironing? What’s the weather going to be like? How much can I fit into one silly carry-on? What jewelry should I bring?

To answer this last question, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group asked a few jewelry lovers—who are also regular travelers—their advice on what to bring and what to leave at home. Click here to read their blog, 3 Major Jewelry Bloggers Share Their Travel Secrets.

A Passion for Pink: Pink Diamonds & Pink Sapphires

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

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.


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.

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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.

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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.

 

If you are looking for a piece of jewelry that will also become an heirloom or an investment, a pink diamond may be the stone of choice.

 

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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.

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!