Chase Away the Winter Blues With December’s Birthstones

decemberbluesDecember’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

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!

 

Zircon

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.

Turquoise

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.

 

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.

Upcoming Jewelry Trends

By Randi Molofsky

With the leading jewelry event in North America—JCK Las Vegas—just around the corner, we’d like to take a look at another big jewelry show that happened this past March: Baselworld.

Held annually in the Swiss town of Basel, close to both the French and German borders, Baselworld does everything big: the massive booths that look like Fifth Avenue boutiques; the rare and exceptional gemstones for sale; and even the supersized beers and brats available on nearly every corner.

So how does someone not on the front lines make sense of such a huge show? We went straight to some of the biggest names in U.S. jewelry publications to find out their favorite trend from Baselworld so we can get a glimpse of what’s to come, then we paired those trends with AGS member jewelry and watches. Here’s what they were loving:

Victoria Gomelsky

Victoria Gomelsky, Editor in Chief, JCK magazine

Watch brands across the price spectrum embraced black-on-black styles, mostly through the use of matte black PVD coatings, for an overall effect that was stylish and vaguely futuristic.

new-rolex-explorer-luminous-watch-dial

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer

LeVian

Le Vian black diamond watch from the Classico Series.

 

Michelle-Graff-1

Michelle Graff, Editor in Chief, National Jeweler

One trend I noticed with both the watch brands and jewelry designers was this whole idea of designing jewelry and watches that can work for both day and evening wear —something that’s not too flashy to wear around your office during the day but will still get noticed at night. I realize this is probably not a brand-new trend but, in my opinion, it was mentioned more than ever before at Baselworld this year, particularly among the watch brands.

I think this trend is a by-product of two factors: First, our society overall is more casual and people rarely, if ever, get dressed up anymore so they are seeking more casual jewelry; and second, the fact that there are more women in the workforce than ever before. In other words, whatever women put on in the morning is what they are wearing out that night, so it needs to work all day.

Simon G

Simon G. Jewelry diamond ring in 18k white gold from the Garden collection.

Simon G bracelet

Simon G. Jewelry diamond bangle in 18k white and rose gold from the Fabled collection.

 

GEMFIELDS hosts U.S. Launch and Private Dinner

Tanya Dukes, Senior Editor at InDesign and InStore magazines

What I loved was the unrestrained use of color. From big time brands to independent designers, there was a surfeit of stones in upbeat colors virtually everywhere. It was great to see them in unexpected places, liked mixed with pearls or used as a watch’s dial. And plenty of jewelry brands and watchmakers introduced designs with a rainbow’s worth of hues in a single piece, but with totally sophisticated, un-kitschy results.

Lika Behar

Lika Behar 24K Yellow Gold and Oxidized Sterling Rings with assorted gemstones.

Goshwara

Goshwara multi-gemstone earrings from the Gossip collection.

If you’re looking for jewelry designs like those displayed above, visit our Find a Jeweler search for an AGS credentialed jeweler near you.