With the holiday shopping season here, the American Gem Society (AGS) has been receiving questions from shoppers seeking jewelry buying tips and secrets. We thought we would answer a few of our most frequently asked questions to help ease the pressure off this hectic season.
“How do I know if I’m getting a good deal?”
Trust your jeweler. Do your research, read reviews of their store, ask friends and shop with a credentialed jeweler. We take great efforts to vet all of our members, to make sure that they continue their gemological education and that they adhere to the AGS standards of ethics and integrity.
“Before I buy gems that have been altered to enhance their appearance, is there anything I need to know?”
Make sure that the piece comes with the proper disclosures and that you understand how to care for the gemstones. Ask your jeweler if the treatments are permanent. For example, fracture-filled diamonds can have their filling damaged by an ultrasonic cleaner or steam cleaning. Some irradiated stones are susceptible to color change with high heats such as that from a jeweler’s torch.
“What advice do you have when shopping for diamonds?”
Ask for a diamond that comes with an independent diamond grading report, specifically, an AGS Laboratories diamond grading report. AGS Laboratories is a nonprofit lab created with a mission of consumer protection.
A diamond grading report from AGS Laboratories offers a simple, straightforward, and intuitive 0-10 scale and provides all the information you need to be comfortable with your diamond-buying decision. Visit americangemsociety.org/agsdiamondgrading to learn more.
“When should I get an appraisal?”
There are different kinds of appraisals for different purposes. The most common reason for an appraisal is to obtain insurance to ensure a replacement of equal quality and value in the event of damage or loss.
For this purpose, either an Insurance Replacement Appraisal or Statement of Replacement Cost should be requested. The Insurance Replacement Appraisal represents the retail replacement cost with a comparable item.
The Statement of Replacement Cost is provided by the actual seller of the item of jewelry and will report the actual selling price based on the normal selling price of that item in that particular store. In general, you want to get your appraisal updated every two years, or if you have a significant life change, like a change of address. Of course, the best reason to get an appraisal is if the piece has significant meaning to you.
If you have more questions, you can reach out to any AGS member jeweler or AGS-credentialed appraiser, and they’ll be happy to assist you. The American Gem Society wishes you a very happy holiday season, full of sparkle and wonderful surprises!
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 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.
Cushion cut pink sapphire with diamond halo.
Oval pink sapphire set in a double row diamond halo.
Oval pink sapphire set with taper baguette and round brilliant diamonds.
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.
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.
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.
Circular bezel set natural pink diamond bracelet in 18kt gold.
Bezel set pink diamonds surrounded by petals of pear cut white diamonds.
Natural fancy pink radiant diamond set in a floral petal design ring in platinum and 18kt gold.
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.
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!
Rare and natural color-changing sapphire ring with diamond halo by Jupiter Gem.
The “Sorrento Bar Bracelet” by Mastoloni Pearls features Akoya pearls and diamonds set in 18k gold.
Blue diamond Star of David necklace by KC Designs.
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?
Illa diamond stud earrings by Hearts On Fire.
London blue topaz and diamond pendant from Doves by Paloma.
Oval ruby with diamond halo by Fana Jewelry.
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.
Abalone, mother-of-pearl, and gray diamond ring by Lika Behar Collection.
The Fiddlehead bracelet by Ed Levin Jewelry is hand-hammered silver swirling around a faceted peridot.
Brushstroke No. 51 Earrings with diamonds set in 18k gold, by Carelle.
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!
This Saturday, November 25, 2017, is Small Business Saturday. During one of the busiest shopping periods of the year, Saturday is a great day to get out and discover, celebrate, and support the local businesses in your neighborhood.
Membership with the AGS is earned by select jewelers who possess proven gemological knowledge, a commitment to their community, and the highest ethical standards. It is your assurance of the reliability and capability of this jeweler.
Visit our website at ags.org/findajeweler to search for an AGS jeweler near you! Shop small and have a happy holiday!
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.
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 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.
White Keshi freshwater pearl earrings with diamonds by Mastoloni.
Tahitian drop earrings with cognac diamonds by ASBA USA.
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.
Carved salmon coral flower with a sprinkling of diamonds, from Gleim the Jeweler’s Estate collection.
Coral and freshwater pearl “Pearl-On-Poppy” necklace by Sharon Wei.
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.
Cabochon amber earrings from Long’s Jewelers Estate collection.
Amber beads from Goldstein Diamonds Estate collection.
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.
Ammolite, emerald, and diamond pendant by Lika Behar Collection.
Another view of ammolite pendant.
Ammolite estate ring at Bay Street Jewelers.
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.
“White Orchid” ring featuring checker-cut clear quartz over white mother-of-pearl, from Doves by Doron Paloma.
Abalone doublet ring with checkerboard white quartz by Stuller.
The holidays are only a few days away, so if you’re still looking for something super special for the season, the American Gem Society (AGS) suggests stackables, studs, or solitaires. These pieces are always on trend and are regular go-to items in any fine jewelry wardrobe.
Below are some dazzling designs by our AGS members that are sure to inspire. If you need more ideas, you can always count on an AGS jeweler to help. Every year, our AGS members are required to continue their gemological education, staying up-to-date on changes and trends in the jewelry industry. Search for an AGS jeweler near you by clicking here.
The beauty of a stackable bracelet or ring is that you can wear them individually, mix and match to change the look or wear them all together. So many options!
Le Vian Chocolate Diamond™ Stackable Wristwear
Honora’s ringed pearl and crystal stretch bracelets.
Erica Courtney’s Stackable Eternity Rings
Danhier Sapphire Stackable Rings
These days, when it comes to studs, the possibilities are endless! You could sport a solitaire diamond or gemstone by day, and then dress it up with an earring jacket by night.
Whiteflash 8-prong martini diamond studs.
KC Designs’ diamond stud and jacket.
Armadani ruby and diamond halo studs.
Baggins Pearls’ classic white south sea diamond studs.
Often a solitaire is presumed to be a round diamond, simply set as a ring or pendant. But today you’ll find these singular stones come in all shapes, sizes, and species—like corundum (ruby and sapphire) and quartz (amethyst and citrine).
Jade Trau’s six prong diamond solitaire.
Parle’s Lotus Garnet pendant.
Mark Schneider’s Silver Inspiration Pendant featuring amethyst.
Uneek’s round diamond engagement ring with peekaboo split shank.
Always keep in mind, when purchasing a diamond—whether it’s a loose stone or mounted—to ask your jeweler for an AGS Laboratories Diamond Grading Report. That way you can be confident that your diamond has been consistently and accurately graded by the only nonprofit diamond grading laboratory with the mission of consumer protection. Accept no substitutes. Happy shopping!
If you’re in search of some great gift ideas—or some hints to give your true love—then look no further than today’s hottest jewelry trends. Below we feature designs by AGS members that represent these styles, just in time for Christmas.
The hoop is a wonderful go-to classic that works for both day and night. They can be subtle silver or gilded gold loops, be studded with diamonds and gemstones, thread through the ear from behind vs. the front, or lay close to the lobe for the “huggie” style.
Naga medium hoop earrings by John Hardy.
Symphony Earrings by Roberto Coin.
Mini Ara hoop earrings by Jade Trau.
You can never go wrong with pearls—they are forever chic, sophisticated, and classy. They can be mixed with metals and other gemstones, and worn with anything from evening gowns to jeans.
Stack of stretchy pearl bracelets by Honora.
Never Blue necklace featuring pearls and sapphires, by Mastoloni.
Golden Pearl diamond ring by Baggins Pearls.
Like the lariat, the Y-necklace doesn’t need to be wrapped or knotted. They are elegant all on their own, adding a slick touch of glamour to the neckline.
Mini B Collection Y Necklace by Gumuchian.
Uneven Tailored Y-Necklace by KC Designs.
If you would love to have gemstones at an accessible price, slices are a wonderful alternative. Designers have discovered that slices also reveal the unique patterns and inclusions in the gemstone, enhancing their raw beauty.
Rose cut emerald slices and champagne diamonds, by Lika Behar Collection.
Paraiba tourmaline slice pendant framed by diamonds, by Parle.
It’s hard not to be happy when you see the vibrant colors of a rainbow. The gemstones can be placed together in a single piece or stacked with gemstone bands and bracelets. No matter the combination, they make a great addition to your jewelry wardrobe.
Rainbow gemstone bands by Etienne Perret.
Rainbow sapphire slice pendant by Whiteflash.
These trends only scratch the surface of what’s new and en vogue. If you are looking for some more ideas, be sure to ask your trusted jeweler. AGS jewelers keep up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry and are always happy to help you choose the best look for you and your loved ones. To find an AGS jeweler near you, click here.
December’s birthstones offer three ways to fight the winter blues: tanzanite, zircon, and turquoise—all of them, appropriately, best known for beautiful shades of blue.
These gems range from the oldest on earth (zircon) to one of the first mined and used in jewelry (turquoise), to one of the most recently discovered (tanzanite).
Below is a collection of beautiful blues designed by our AGS members. Click on the images to see all the beautiful details!
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.
Due to pleochroism, tanzanite can display different colors when viewed from different angles. Stones 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. Between its deep blue color and its limited supply, tanzanite is treasured by many—whether one is born in December or not!
Pear shaped tanzanite earrings by United Color Gems.
Carved tanzanite ring by Goshwara.
Tanzanite and diamond ring by Erica Courtney.
Zircon is an underrated gem that’s often confused with synthetic cubic zirconia due to similar names and shared use as diamond simulants. Few people realize that zircon is a spectacular natural gem available in a variety of colors.
Zircon commonly occurs brownish red, which can be popular for its earth tones. However, most gem-quality stones are heat treated until colorless, gold or blue (the most popular color). Blue zircon, in particular, is the alternative birthstone for December.
Whether you’re buying blue zircon to celebrate a December birthday, or selecting another shade just to own a gorgeous piece of earth’s oldest history, zircon offers many options.
Blueberry Zircon™ by Le Vian.
Custom cut blue zircons by Simone & Son.
Blue zircon and diamond pendant by Yael Designs.
Turquoise, the traditional birthstone of December, is also gifted on the 11th wedding anniversary. But buying turquoise doesn’t require special occasions; its namesake blue color has been internationally revered for centuries as a symbol of protection, friendship, and happiness.
Thanks to its historical and cultural significance in many Native American tribes, turquoise remains most popular throughout the southwestern U.S.—which supplies most of the world’s turquoise today.
Turquoise is one of few gems not judged by the 4Cs of diamond quality. Instead, the main factors that determine its value are color, matrix, hardness, and size. The most prized turquoise color is a bright, even sky blue. Greenish tones can lower the value of a stone, although some designers prefer it.
Because of its fragility, turquoise is often treated to enhance durability and color. Some treatments involving wax and oil are relatively harmless, while other methods—including dye, impregnation, and reconstitution—are more controversial. Seek out an AGS jeweler who can help you find the best quality turquoise.
Turquoise and black sapphire ring by Lisa Bridge Collection.
Arizona turquoise bead and sterling silver necklace by John Hardy.
Mexican turquoise and champagne diamond pendant by Lika Behar Collection.
Shopping for fine jewelry should never make you blue! Make sure you shop with a trusted jeweler and buy it with confidence. Click here to search for an AGS jeweler near you.