June Hits the Birthstone Trifecta

By Robin Skibicki

Those born in June celebrate their special month with three beautiful birthstones: the luminous pearl, enchanting alexandrite and magical moonstone.

June-Trifecta-hz

Pearls

Pearls are the only gemstone in the world that comes from a living organism, and can be found in both saltwater and freshwater. Whether natural or cultured, a pearl forms when a mollusk produces layers of nacre (pronounced NAY-kur) around any type of irritant inside its shell. In natural pearls, the irritant may be another organism from the water. In cultured pearls, a mother-of-pearl bead or a piece of tissue is inserted (by man) into the mollusk to start the process. There are also different types of mollusks that produce very different looking pearls.

For centuries, pearls have been a symbol of beauty and purity. Today, they are regarded as both classic and contemporary, coming in many more fashionable styles than your grandmother’s traditional strand of pearls.

 

Honora pearl and rock crystal

Sterling silver necklace with five rows of white baroque coin freshwater cultured pearls and rock crystal, by Honora.

 

sbr-3072

Mastoloni designed a 16.3mm Tahitian pearl set in 18kt white gold adorned with diamonds on each side.

 

Shogun Pearl e241

Natural golden South Sea cultured pearl and diamond earrings in 18kt gold, by Shogun Pearl.

 

Alexandrite

This variety of color change chrysoberyl is extremely rare, placing the alexandrite in its own mineral group. When this remarkable stone is viewed in daylight or fluorescent light, it appears green or blueish green. When seen under incandescent lighting, it morphs to a purplish red.

Due to its rarity, some jewelers stock synthetic versions of this chameleon-like gemstone. Synthetic gemstones are man-made alternatives to the natural material, possessing the same physical, optical, and chemical properties as the natural gemstone.

Alexandrite is a relatively modern gem, first discovered in Russia around 1831 during the reign of its namesake, Czar Alexander II. Although alexandrite has a short history, it is has been associated with good fortune, enhanced creativity and focus.

The photos below are key examples of the incredible color-changing properties of the alexandrite. OMI Privé‘s, Niveet Nagpal, designed this bewitching brooch named “Alexis.” Each photo shows the same brooch under both color phases.

Alexis-duo

The lizard’s body is 18K white gold, and the back is made up of 6.06 ctw of alexandrite rough. The eyes are tsavorite, the mouth is ruby, and the entire piece is accented with diamonds, alexandrites and black diamonds. A work of art!

AG Gems Alexandrite

A natural, oval-cut Alexandrite ring by AG Gems is flanked by two half-moon cut diamonds and accented by 42 round brilliant cut diamonds.

 

Moonstone

A phenomenal gemstone, moonstones show a floating play of light (called adularescence) and occasionally show either a multi-rayed star or a cat’s eye. They are part of the family of minerals called feldspar and occur in many igneous and metamorphic rocks. Moonstone is a translucent stone that comes in a variety of colors, such as white, gray, green, blue, peach and champagne. The most popular is the rainbow moonstone, which is an iridescent white or gray displaying a blue sheen in the light. To enhance the adularescence, moonstone is often cut into a smooth cabochon shape.

Moonstone lore appears in varying cultures over the centuries, each associating its mesmerizing properties with goddesses, psychic abilities, femininity and motherhood, calming, protection, health and good fortune. Here are some exquisite designs featuring the magnificent moonstone.

 

Moonstone LikaBehar-1

The Pompei Pendant by Lika Behar Collection features a tear drop rainbow moonstone framed by 24k gold and oxidized sterling silver.

 

Moonstone yael-earrings

Yael Designs‘ Moonrise earrings are set in 18k white gold, and feature moonstones and blue sapphires, accented with ideal cut diamonds.

 

Moonstone-peach Ritani

A round, peach moonstone pendant by Ritani is set in 18kt yellow gold with a beaded edge finish.

 

If you’re in search of pearl, alexandrite or moonstone jewelry, visit our Find a Jeweler search for an AGS credentialed jeweler near you.

Art Deco: Striking, Bold & Dramatic

By Isabelle Corvin, Certified Gemologist (CG)
Staff Gemologist at Panowicz Jewelers

Jewelry trends change over time, influenced by the factors that make up life. Designs wax and wane in popularity, often cycling through many times as resurgences.

There is a strong emphasis in modern jewelry designs of this period reminiscent of the Art Deco movement. Angles, striking and sharp. Colors, bold and dramatic. Shapes, odd and thought-provoking.

Art Deco is steeped in international history, and to learn more about the modern trends, we’ll have to step back in time…

It was the Roaring Twenties.

A time of economic prosperity and technological advancement, a time of jazz and a celebration of life.

The shadow of war has passed, and the world is recovering, and growing.

The place is Paris, the most romantic city in the world.

This is the era that Art Deco was born from.

Armadani

Pink sapphire diamond pave mosaic ring by Armadani, featuring French cut pink sapphires and round brilliant diamonds.

In 1925, the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts took place in Paris, France, and marked the start of the Art Deco movement. The movement would continue up until the start of the Second World War, but would have a resurgence in popularity in the 1960s and again in the 1980s, thanks to a book published on the subject in 1968, and then to the rise of graphic design in the late 80s.

Where most design movements rose out of political or religious intentions or stresses, Art Deco was simply artistic.

The movement inspired clothing, architecture, art and of course, jewelry.

Unlike its predecessor, Art Nouveau, with its more whimsical, light designs, Art Deco was all about lines, interesting shapes and a modern flair.

Mastoloni

These timeless pearl and diamond Fan Earrings by Mastoloni, are part of the Deco Collection.

The inspiration for Art Deco came from advancing technologies and living life to the fullest. The world was speeding up, and this contributed to the modern feel of the movement. During this period, many famous archaeological finds took place, including excavation of King Tut’s tomb. Ancient influences, especially from Aztec and Egyptian cultures, can be seen in many Art Deco pieces, and the contrast between the geometrical shapes and ancient motifs creates a fanciful and unusual style.

Platinum was “discovered” during this period as well, and was used in many Art Deco pieces along with the finest of gems including blue sapphires, bright emeralds, and stunning rubies. Diamonds were also widely seen, set as both facial points and accents. Many opaque stones were popular as well; Carnelian, lapis, turquoise and black onyx.

Gemstones were cut into interesting shapes such as trapezoids and octagons, elongated rectangles and squares, sometimes with rounded corners. The cutting of these stones was often done wasting quite a bit of rough, but that just showed the lavish nature of the era.

Glass and new plastics were also very popular substances to use in jewelry and art, as well as non-precious metals like titanium and aluminum.

The jewelry was large and was made to draw attention. Straight lines, cubes, and chevrons, along with structured curves, all mixed together to create a jumbled, yet beautiful, style.

Necklaces, pendants, bracelets, rings, brooches, and earrings were all made in the style of Art Deco, with an emphasis on being bold.

Art Deco is an expression of functionality, elegance and a passion for life.

UniqueSettingsNY

Unique Settings of New York presents their custom Art Deco-inspired designs. The ring above is 14K white gold with a 1.00 CT center stone, and 0.30 tcw in side diamonds.

Just like in the past, the current atmosphere in the USA is one of hopeful growth; the economy is recovering slowly from a recent recession. The tinges of the last war are fading from memory. The world is advancing at a fast pace, with emerging technologies and ideas.

The similarities of past and present are surprising, lending a hand to the new geometric shapes emerging from top designers.

A revival of Art Deco is in the air, with the classic looks from the past mingling with a new take on the movement. There’s never been a better time to add a striking and unique piece of wearable art to your collection!

joshuaj

The drama of the Art Deco period comes to life in this beautiful bracelet by Joshua J. Fine Jewelry. It features an Old European cut center diamond, with a splash of green emeralds for accent.

 

 

 

Design Details: Ilaria Lanzoni of Hearts On Fire

By Randi Molofsky

MeetTheDesigner-HeroImageLeft_488x488If your ultimate diamond wishlist includes the most sparkly rock on the block, look no further than Hearts On Fire (HOF), a company that boasts the tagline, The World’s Most Perfectly Cut Diamond®.

Director of Design, Ilaria Lanzoni, has been with Hearts On Fire for four years, creating exceptional collections of jewelry around these dazzling diamonds. With 20 years of experience as a jewelry designer with top brands including Asprey and Garrard, she brought a new level of sophistication and European sensibility with her to HOF. We spoke to Ilaria and asked her five questions about her inspiration, her designs and what’s to come!

What about the perfection of an HOF diamond inspires your design?

When I joined Hearts On Fire, I was truly mesmerized by the beauty of the diamonds. And I am still blown away by their beauty every day. The perfection and quality allow me to do more creative designs than I would have ever imagined. Wait until you see our new collection this year! I am continuously working with my team to create new ideas of designs that can both be worn every day and proudly display the unique Hearts On Fire sparkle. It’s a challenge that any designer loves!

We’ve heard you use inspiration boards to help with your creative process. Why does this work for you and what’s currently on your inspiration board?

I do love inspiration boards – you should see my work space! I’m an incredibly visual person, and as I go about my daily life, I am constantly inspired by the world around me. It always comes from places you don’t expect it, so I like to memorize images and colors and shapes and add it to my working space so I can remember it in the future. As I mention below, all of my collections follow unique themes and are inspired by a particular place or experience…and these boards help capture the energy I am feeling.

Ilaria_InStudio

I am constantly adding to my boards, and pin all sort of images on boards…architecture, house interiors, fashion accessories, pieces of fabrics, close-up pictures of details of all sorts, like doors, iron gates, windows…the list can go on and on. Every day is completely different and every day we see the world a little differently, too. That is what I am always building on.

Can you pick three of your favorite HOF designs and tell us why they are so successful?

It’s always hard to pick my favorites, but if I had to choose just a few that are loved by both myself and consumers, they would be the ILLA Cluster star pendant for being so timelessly fashionable, the Triplicity Lariat for being so elegantly sexy, and the Lorelei Diamond Floral pendant for its chic, feminine style. All of these designs seamlessly blend modern trends with the classic beauty of diamond jewelry, something that we always strive to create at Hearts On Fire.

Can you give us a sneak peek of what’s next for HOF jewelry?

We are incredibly excited to be launching our next designer jewelry collection in June at the 2016 Couture Show [an invitation-only event for the fine jewelry trade]! All of my collections are inspired by my personal experiences in life and mix timeless beauty with modern trends. The only hint I can give is that a year ago I moved to New York City, and that has impacted this next collection. So watch out for something blending a vibrant, edgy style with classic diamond beauty. It’s amazing!

Illa-Cluster-Pendant-1

Illa Cluster Pendant comprised of perfectly cut Hearts On Fire diamonds. Wear it alone or paired with other necklaces.

Copley-Circle-Earrings-1

Copley Circle Earrings with eleven perfectly cut Hearts On Fire diamonds in each loop.

Lorelei-Interlocking-Diamond-Heart-Bracelet-1

Lorelei Interlocking Diamond Heart Bracelet is the perfect addition to any look, day or night.

Lorelei-Bow-Necklace-1

The dainty Lorelei Bow Necklace is perfect for every day, adding simple sparkle to any look.

Aerial-Cluster-Engagement-Ring-1

The Aerial Cluster Engagement Ring was designed to resemble a snowflake.

Graduation Gifts!

By Amanda L Colborn

Time sure does fly, right? Perhaps you’ve been dreading it…or maybe you’re looking forward to this new chapter of your loved ones’ life. Whether you’re ready for it or not, your favorite graduate is going to be walking down that aisle and accepting that diploma or degree that they’ve worked so hard for.

Witnessing this significant step in your loved ones’ life will likely bring some tears to your eyes. But have no fear, you can return the favor when you gift them an amazing piece of jewelry, as a congratulatory token of your love, during this most momentous of times.

This is the time to celebrate all the hours, days, weeks, and years of time they dedicated to achieving such an important goal. And that warrants a really spectacular gift!

But where to start?

First off, if you are considering gifting an amazing piece of jewelry to your graduate, please do so from an AGS-credentialed jeweler. You can find a local AGS-credentialed jeweler here.  Find a jeweler near you and give them a call, they’ll be happy to help you find that perfect piece!

Another option is to look online.  For example; AGS members, Tiffany & Co. and Hearts on Fire, both have sections of their website completely dedicated to Graduation Gifts for both Him and Her.

Whichever avenue you choose, try to think outside the box! Consider who you are shopping for, what they like, what they care about, and what their future goals are. Then tailor your gift to their personality specifically.

Diamond stud earrings for her from Ritani

Diamond stud earrings for her from Ritani

Men's cufflinks from John Hardy

Men’s cufflinks from John Hardy

And then stand back.

There will be waterworks. But don’t worry, they will definitely be the good kind!