Seeing Green: The Perfect Jewelry for St. Patrick’s Day

Blog article courtesy of the American Gem Society (AGS) member, Malak Jewelers. Featured photos were contributed by members of the AGS.

Art Deco emerald and diamond bracelet by Nash James.

Art Deco emerald and diamond bracelet by Nash James.

Throughout the world on March 17th, the streets fill with laughter, dancing, and most of all, the color green.  St. Patrick’s Day began as a religious feast day observing the death of St. Patrick. But now it has turned into a variety of festivals across the globe, celebrating Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, and a whole lot of green.

If you are at a loss for what green to wear, or just want to add more green to your outfit, here are four of the most well-known green gemstones that will add sparkle and color to your St. Patrick’s Day.

EMERALDS

Emeralds were first found in Egypt in 330 B.C. The name “emerald” derives from the Greek word smaragdos, which was a term used to refer to the greenest of gems. Emeralds can come in varying shades of green and some feature blueish hints. The green color comes from trace amounts of chromium and vanadium in the mineral beryl. Its color symbolizes the rebirth and renewal of spring, and that is why it is the birthstone for the month of May. It’s also a popular gem for the 20th and 35th wedding anniversary.

Emeralds are typically formed in six-sided prisms, so they are naturally suited for the emerald cut for jewelry. They are mostly found in Colombia, Zambia, Brazil, and Zimbabwe. North Carolina is also a minor source for emeralds.

PERIDOT

Peridot’s name comes from the Arabic term faridat which means “gem.” Peridots were referred to as the gem of the sun by the Egyptians because of its bright color, which ranges from light to dark green and yellowish green. Most commonly it is seen in pale olive but can be bright golden lime. The mesmerizing color comes from trace amounts of iron within the mineral.

Peridot is the birthstone for August and the gem for the 16th wedding anniversary. The leading producer of peridots is in the San Carlos Indian reservation in Arizona.

ALEXANDRITE

The first alexandrites were discovered in Russia in the 1830s. The gemstone is named after Czar Alexander II. It is often described as “emeralds by day and rubies by night” because it is blueish, green in the daylight and purplish, red in incandescent light. Alexandrites change color because they are a rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl. This gem provides dramatic proof of how a light source can affect the color of gemstones.

If you know of any June babies or a happy couple celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary, then alexandrite makes a treasured gift!

JADE- JADEITE

The names “jade” and “jadeite” come from the Spanish phrase piedra de ijada meaning, “stone of the lions.” They may sound similar, but they have totally different chemical, optical, and physical properties, with jadeite being the more valuable of the two.

Most of the classic jade (nephrite jade) comes from China, whereas Myanmar is the main source for jadeite. Jadeites are held in high regard throughout the Asian culture. And in China, nephrite jade is a symbol for purity, good luck, and prosperity. Jadeites come in varying shades of green. The most valuable jadeites are pure “imperial” green, which equals the intensity of emeralds.

 

Malak Jewelers
Malak Jewelers is Charlotte, North Carolina’s premier direct diamond importer, supplier of loose diamonds, and custom design jewelry

Way to Go, Retro!

Vintage jewelry makes a treasured gift that can be passed down for generations. They are typically one-of-a-kind pieces that often have a story of their own. We wanted to repost this blog, which was written by Amanda L. Colborn in 2015. The photos have been updated to show pieces that are currently carried by members of the American Gem Society. 

Aquamarine and Diamonds Vintage Chandelier Earrings

Aquamarine and Diamonds Vintage Chandelier Earrings at Market Street Diamonds

When it comes to jewelry, more and more people are looking to the past for their present jewelry inspiration. It’s not just about style and fashion. Estate jewelry has a story to tell, in which you could play a role in its history!

But first, what is “estate” jewelry?

Estate jewelry is, in the simplest of terms, jewelry that has been previously owned by someone else.

Is it the same as “antique” jewelry?

Yes and no. Estate jewelry is not considered an antique until it is at least 100 years old, according to JewelleryMonthly.com.

So, why would estate jewelry be something for me?

There are several benefits to acquiring previously owned jewelry.  A big reason is that they rarely go out of fashion. Vintage has never been more popular, making it easier than ever to find interesting pieces of estate jewelry. People love pieces that hold a story, and the best thing about estate jewelry is that they all have some sort of story, which makes shopping for them that much more fun!

This floral inspired vintage halo diamond ring can be found at Market Street Diamonds.

 

Another reason to look into owning an estate piece is that most of them are now one-of-a-kind. Perhaps you have looked into getting a custom piece of jewelry made and were overwhelmed by how much that can cost. Well, look into estate pieces! They are usually much more cost-effective and the likelihood of anyone else having the same matching piece is slim to none.

This classic Art Deco diamond and sapphire brooch is just as beautiful in the back as it is in the front! And the Victorian-era designed amethyst ring is in beautiful condition, considering it’s over a century old. It’s hand engraved inside, “to Mary Frank.” Both pieces can be found at Gleim the Jeweler.

 

When you shop with an AGS-credentialed jeweler, you’re already taking the first step towards a jewelry purchase backed with the highest standard of ethics in the industry. When you purchase a piece of estate jewelry from an AGS-credentialed jeweler, you know you are getting a top-quality piece of jewelry from a jeweler who cares about you, your wallet, and ensuring the overall high standards of ethical behavior within the jewelry industry.

This Estate ring features ten round diamonds and can be found at Goldstein Diamonds. The vintage ring box adds to the romance!

 

As you can see, there are so many benefits to going retro when it comes to your next jewelry purchase. Take into consideration the history, time period, and cost-effectiveness when you plan on purchasing your first or next piece of fine jewelry.

Talk to your jeweler and see what your options are. Or, find the right jeweler for you here.  And then go tell your friends to look into estate jewelry as well, so you can share the stories of your beautiful new/old vintage creations!

It’s Only Natural

By Robin Skibicki

Not all gemstones are minerals with a crystalline structure. In fact, some were formed through biological processes of living organisms, such as plants and animals. These natural beauties are referred to as organic gemstones and include several varieties that are important to the gem trade. We’re talking about pearls, coral, amber, ammolite, and shell, just to name a few.

Pearls

Pearls are pretty much perfect for any occasion. It doesn’t matter if you’re dressed in silks and satins or khakis and jeans, they go with everything! There are several types to choose from, like freshwater or saltwater, natural or cultured, with such varieties as Akoya, Keshi, South Sea, and Tahitian.

 

 

Coral

There are hundreds of species of coral throughout the world, but only a few are used for fine jewelry. Corallium japonicum and Corallium rubrum are two varieties of red coral commonly used to produce jewelry, and Antipatharia, a species of black coral prized for its lustrous, black appearance after polishing.

 

 

Amber

Amber had its moment in the spotlight when it appeared as a source for “Dino DNA” in the movie, Jurassic Park. This fossilized resin of ancient tree sap dates back 25 to 50 million years, with some of the oldest known material dating back 290 to 350 million years ago. Amber comes in over 300 different shades, with the most common colors being honey, green, cherry, cognac, citrine, and butterscotch.

 

 

Ammolite

Ammolite is an iridescent gemstone material that comes from the fossilized shell of extinct squid-like creatures called ammonites. They only come from one place: Alberta, Canada. Although they have been forming for millions of years, ammolite first appeared in jewelry in the 1960s and was recognized in 1981 as an organic gemstone.

 

 

Shell

Shell has been used for decorative purposes for centuries and was most likely the by-product of the search for food. It’s been used for everything from buttons to knife handles, from cameos to necklaces. In jewelry design, the two most familiar types of shell are abalone and mother-of-pearl.

Interesting facts: Abalone is composed of mother-of-pearl. Mother-of-pearl is called nacre, which makes the outer layer of pearls.

 

 

Visit an AGS-credentialed jeweler near you and ask them to show you some organic gemstones!

 

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.

JR0032-Gossip-Emerald-Cut-900x720

“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.

ag-gems_ring3_2-19-14.jpg

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.

PC1116ALTR-AlexandriteDiamondPendant

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.

Idolite earrings

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.

RGG0087_resized-1500

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!

The Mistaken Identity of November’s Birthstones

novemberbirthstonesThe month of November is represented by two richly colored gemstones: topaz and citrine. The gemstones look similar, in fact, that they’ve often been mistaken for one another throughout history. But they are actually unrelated minerals, and topaz occurs in a wide variety of colors far beyond yellow.

The good news is that both of these gemstones are fairly abundant and affordably priced, which means anyone can find a topaz or citrine that will fit their budget.

Topaz

Once upon a time, all gems that were yellow were once considered topaz, and all topaz were presumed to be yellow. Alas, it’s been discovered that topaz is available in a wide variety of colors, with Imperial topaz—a vibrant orange hue with pink undertones— being the most prized. Blue topaz, although abundant in the market, rarely occurs naturally and is often caused by irradiation treatment.

Pure topaz is colorless, but it can become tinted by impurities to take on any color of the rainbow. Precious topaz, ranging in color from brownish orange to yellow, is often mistaken for “smoky quartz” or “citrine quartz,” respectively—although quartz and topaz are unrelated minerals.

Topaz is a traditional gift for those with November birthdays. It’s also given to celebrate 19th wedding anniversaries, and certain types (blue and Imperial, respectively) acknowledge 4th and 23rd wedding anniversaries, as well.

When buying topaz, realize that this gem is most often treated with irradiation to produce desirable colors—particularly blue. Because these processes so closely resemble how topaz forms in nature, there is practically no way to determine whether a stone has been treated.

Here are a few designs from AGS members featuring the terrific topaz. Click on the images for a larger view.

Coffin & Trout Fine Jewellers

coffinandtrout-topaz

Bi-color topaz set in platinum, 18k rose and yellow gold accented by a pear shaped garnet, tourmaline, and round brilliant cut diamonds.

Goshwara

goswara-topaz

“Gossip” London Blue topaz emerald cut earrings on wire.

Corona Jewellery Company

corona-sunrisetopaz

Sunrise topaz and diamond ring.

Yael Designs

yael-topaz

The Nero pendant is 18k black gold featuring Imperial topaz, accented with rubies and champagne diamonds.

Citrine

The second birthstone for November, citrine, is the variety of quartz that ranges from pale yellow to brownish orange in color. It takes its name from the citron fruit because of these lemon-inspired shades.

The name “citrine” was commonly used to refer to yellow gems as early as 1385 when the word was first recorded in English. However, since the gem’s color closely resembled topaz, the two November birthstones shared a history of mistaken identities.

Once citrine was distinguished from topaz, it quickly became popular in women’s jewelry as well as men’s cufflinks and rings. Today, it remains one of the most affordable and frequently purchased yellow gemstones.

Whether shopping for a November birthday, a 13th wedding anniversary, or just an affordable piece of jewelry to complement any style, citrine makes a perfect gift. These beautiful design from AGS members ought to spark some gift ideas. Be sure to click on the images to get a larger view.

Gumuchian

gumuchian-citrine

These 18kt yellow gold Mosaic Tile earrings feature diamonds, honey citrine and yellow mother of pearl.

Gleim the Jeweler

gleim-citrine

Long, graceful citrine briolettes drop from a tracery of diamonds set in 18K white gold.

United Color Gems

unitedcolorgems-citrine

This pendant is 18k white gold featuring a cushion shaped citrine with a fancy cut top and round diamonds.

Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry

ricardobasta-citrine

The Citrine Swirl Brooch features round citrine surrounded by diamonds and rubies, set in platinum and 18k yellow gold.

When buying topaz or citrine, be sure to shop with a trusted jeweler who will inform you whether or not the stones have been treated. To find an AGS jeweler near you, visit our Find a Jeweler search. The American Gem Society wishes you a very happy birthday, and if you’re celebrating an anniversary, may your love continue to flourish for years to come!