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!
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!
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.
Stackable rings are a trend that has definitely been re-emerging in the last year and we are loving it! Whether you’re having a dinner date, a night out with the girls, or a business meeting, there is a stackable ring style that is appropriate for you. Here are our tips on stacking rings like a pro for any event:
Keep It Simple
An important key to remember is to be simple. Using small bands to accent instead of chunky pieces. These simple touches will not only stand out but also create symmetry to your look. To ensure the complete chic stack, be sure they keep it symmetrical and not to clutter all your rings on one finger…share the love!
Mix & Match
You’ve always heard not to wear gold and silver jewelry but we are here to tell you that…they are all wrong! Mixing metals can create a cohesive glow that also looks great with your summer tan or favorite fall-colored clothing. More importantly, who doesn’t love a fashionista who is willing to take some risks from time to time?
Playing With Shapes
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different designs and shapes. Bold diamond bands paired with fun geometric designs complete a playful, yet sophisticated look. For the ethereal look, pair diamond bands with our dainty laurel bands [pictured below].
Stay True to You
Some of us are a little more conservative while some of us like to explore styles and fashions more often. No matter the case, it is important to stay true to your personality. Maybe one to two rings are all you need but perhaps another day you’re feeling that bohemian vibe where you want to pile on every finger. Change to: Don’t worry, the stackable rings are here to support whichever look you’re feeling.
Established in 1996, Uneek Fine Jewelry has emerged as an unparalleled standard in fine diamond jewelry. The reasons will be evident once you see and experience the extraordinary detail, intricate workmanship and breathtaking designs in their extensive bridal, color and fashion collections.
Ancient Japanese legends told stories of mermaids and nymphs crying tears of pearls. When the Greek gods wept, they shed pearls. Even the moon allegedly shed tears of well…you know.
There are many myths pearls, and not all tales involve crying.
Early Chinese civilization believed that dragons carried pearls between their teeth. If you were brave enough to slay a dragon and claim a pearl, it was a symbol of wisdom. In Hindu folklore, dewdrops fell from the moon into the sea, turned into pearls, and Krishna picked one out of the water as a gift for his daughter on her wedding day.
Being the subject of many legends, pearls, as you can imagine, were highly coveted. They were also extremely rare in nature. During the Byzantine Empire, only the emperor was allowed to wear pearls. The ancient Egyptians loved them so much, they were buried with them. And Tudor England was nicknamed the Pearl Age because of the gem’s popularity with the sixteenth-century upper class. The next time you are in a museum looking at Renaissance art, notice the many portraits of the royals wearing pearls.
In more modern times, they became the Art Deco centerpiece for flappers and fashionistas. Ladies who lunch wore them with their white gloves. Pearls during the day, diamonds at night, and never the two shall meet.
And now? Today’s pearls are more often than not cultured. Honora, one of the premier pearl designers, refers to them as “affordable luxury.”
If pearls are the gem of legends, then this watch from Honora is legendary. We love the contrast of the leather wristband and the halo of pearls around the watch dial.
One more from Honora: this classic strand of white pearls is timeless and versatile. Wear it with a blouse and jeans or a dress to work. It’s perfect for either and will make you feel like royalty.
Thankfully, these drop earrings from Breuning ignored the memo that diamonds and pearls don’t go together. Try telling that to these rebellious diamond, pearl, and pink sapphire jewels.
Last, but certainly not least, are these pairs of thoroughly modern fringe earrings from Mastoloni Pearls, featuring both black and white pearls.
If you are looking to mix up your jewelry arsenal, give pearls a whirl. Seriously, find some pearls you will love and enjoy them for years to come. Click here to find a jeweler who can help you find the perfect piece.
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.
The holiday season is just around the corner, which for most, includes trains, planes, and automobiles. No matter what your mode of transportation may be, you are probably planning to take a few pieces of fine jewelry along for the ride.