In ancient times, the ruby was considered more valuable than diamonds. Many cultures admired this precious gemstone and considered it a token of wealth, safety, and passion. It is now the birthstone for the month of July.
Rubies have been particularly prized in Asian countries. Records suggest that rubies were traded along China’s North Silk Road as early as 200 BC. Legend has it that they considered them so valuable that Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan offered to exchange a whole city for a large ruby.
Chinese noblemen adorned their armor with rubies, because they believed the gem would grant protection. They also buried rubies beneath building foundations to secure good fortune.
Ancient Hindus believed they’d be reborn as emperors if they offered rubies to the god Krishna. In Hindu folklore, the glowing fire within rubiesIn ancient times, the ruby was considered more valuable than diamonds. Many cultures admired this precious gemstone and considered it a token of wealth, safety, and passion. It is now the birthstone for the month of July. burned so hot that they allegedly boiled water. Greek legends similarly claimed that ruby’s warmth could melt wax.
In Burma—a significant ruby source since at least 600 AD—warriors believed that rubies made them invincible. They even implanted rubies into their skin to grant protection in battle. Burmese rubies are still some of the most prized of all ruby gems.
Many cultures also admired ruby as a symbol of love, passion, and commitment. Rubies have long been considered the perfect wedding gem. In present day, it’s a traditional gift for 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries. If you’re looking for ruby jewelry for yourself or for someone with a July birthday, find an American Gem Society jeweler near you.
NOTE: The above is intended to educate on the myth, legend, and historical lore of rubies and is not meant to be interpreted as fact.
“I know no ways to mince it in love, but directly to say I love you.”
– Shakespeare, Henry V
Whatever, Shakespeare. We know of some better ways to show our affection!
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, we often forget that it’s not only for those who are romantically involved. We express our affection for family members and BFFs as well!
Flowers, candies, and stuffed animals are delightful tokens, but a gift of fine jewelry is a more personal piece that becomes a cherished treasure for future generations. The look of surprise when they catch the sparkle of diamonds or the rich hue of colored gemstones is priceless enough!
Whether you’re celebrating a romantic relationship, a forever friendship, or a family bond, Valentine’s Day helps us express the love and devotion we have for one another.
Of course, it’s been said that “Every day should be Valentine’s Day,” yet there’s something about February 14 that gives us that extra boost of affection. There is also the anticipation and expectation of giving and receiving a heartfelt memento that marks the significance of this annual occasion.
We have a few gift ideas that are apropos for the holiday. Here are a few examples from some American Gem Society (AGS) members:
Where did you first meet? Rose gold heart map pendant with diamond border, by A.Jaffe.
Spell it out with this sterling silver bracelet featuring a ruby-cluster heart, by Gabriel & Co.
Vintage-style romance! Morganite, pink sapphire, and diamond ring, by Beverley K.
Whisper sweet nothings in my ear. Fulfillment heart diamond studs, by Hearts On Fire.
You’ve been shot by Cupid’s arrow! Diamond bow and arrow necklace, by KC Designs.
I love you for all eternity! Eternità diamond bracelet, from DIAMONDS by kathy ireland®.
Forever entwined. Two-tone twist diamond anniversary band, by Simon G.
Je t’aime! French cut mosaic pink sapphire and diamond earrings, by Armadani.
A great gift idea to add to throughout the year! Stackable eternity rings, by Erica Courtney.
Have any of the above designs given you some ideas or do you have something else in mind? An AGS-credentialed jeweler is happy to help! Find a jeweler near you.
Spinel is an oxide mineral that crystallizes in the cubic structure and has quite the mixed-up history.
As of 2016, it is also the newest birthstone to be added to the birthstone list! August babies now have a choice between vivid peridot and alluring spinel.
The word “spinel” comes from the Latin word Spinella, which means “little thorn” or “arrow-shaped.” Spinel gems come in a wide range of colors and saturations, though perhaps the most famous (and mistakenly infamous) is the red variety.
In ancient cultures, red spinel was always grouped together with rubies, and sometimes garnets, since the rough (and even polished and cut) crystals look so similar. In the modern age, the gems can be separated, but much of spinel’s history is tied up in the lore of rubies.
The oldest known spinel dates back to 100 B.C. and was found in Kabul, Afghanistan, inside a Buddhist temple. Red and blue spinels were also being used in crafting by the Romans.
The most famous spinel is also the most famous example of mistaken identity in all of gemological history. A “ruby” known as the Black Prince’s Ruby is our culprit. It is a red gem set in the Imperial State Crown of the British crown jewels. The gemstone is uncut, but polished, and weighs approximately 170 carats. The gem has never been removed from its original setting, so the weight is only estimated.
This amazing gemstone, however, is no ruby. It is, in fact, a spinel.
The Black Prince was the son of Edward III, and reportedly received the gem from Don Pedro the Cruel, King of Castille as a reward. Legend has it that the spinel was one of the gems worn by Henry V on his helmet and that it deflected a fatal blow, saving his life during the Battle of Agincourt.
Whether true or not, the gem was thought to be ruby for many years, until technology and the knowledge of gems improved enough to separate gems on more than mere color.
This royal stone is not the only spinel in disguise. Empress Catherine II of Russia had a crown that bore an estimated 400-carat spinel. Likewise, Queen Victoria had a very dark red spinel called the Timur Ruby.
It doesn’t help matters when spinel and ruby often form together in the earth! In 1783, mineralogist Jean Baptiste Louis Rome de Lisle finally separated spinel from ruby, realizing that the two minerals were completely different.
Further confusion arises with spinel’s true nature even now.
Many pieces of inexpensive birthstone jewelry have an imitation of the true birthstone: something that looks like—but isn’t—the real thing. The majority of these are made with synthetic spinel, grown in a laboratory rather than the ground, but boasting the same chemical make-up.
The natural gem is lovely, but many only know of its synthetic counterparts.
Each color of spinel is thought to provide different benefits to the wearer, from protection to enhancing creativity and kindness, to better cognitive abilities. Colorless spinel is rare, and no current mines exist that produce it.
The most common colors seen in jewelry are red and blue, with the hues ranging from highly saturated to perfectly pastel.
Other popular colors are yellows, purples, and pinks, although the gem comes in every color. Black spinel is found in many pieces, and once again, is often confused for other black gems like hematite, black diamond, and black onyx.
Black spinel and white sapphire pendant, by Dilamani.
Spinel is mined in many locations, including Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Myanmar (formerly Bruma) Brazil, Sweden, Pakistan, and Russia, among others. It can even be found in the USA.
Additionally, small crystals have been found on meteorites, a trait spinel shares with the other August birthstone, peridot.
For a gemstone many have never heard of, it might be the most famous of all. It is the hidden star of the show, silently shining on as the world ignores it or mistakes it for another stone altogether.
Pink spinel and diamond drop earrings, by JB Star.
But spinel is worth a first, and second, glance. With spectacular colors, excellent durability and an amusing history, it’s the perfect addition to anyone’s gem and jewelry collection.
Spinel truly deserves the title: The Coolest Gem You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of!
Isabelle Corvin is an AGS Certified Gemologist (CG) who is the Staff Gemologist at Panowicz Jewelers. Since she was 14-years-old, she knew she wanted to be a gemologist. Ms. Corvin also writes for Panowicz Jewelers’ blog.
The American Independence Day—or the Fourth of July—is when we celebrate our country’s freedom and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. It’s also considered the height of summer!
It’s a time for family reunions, barbeques, picnics, parades, and the much-anticipated fireworks displays. On this day, we proudly display our nation’s colors: red, white, and blue.
Fun Fact: More than 14,000 firework displays are put on across the country on the Fourth of July!
But don’t let those fireworks grab all the attention. Create your own sparkle-fest with three gemstones that will beautify your patriotic style. We’re talking about rubies, white diamonds, and blue sapphires!
In honor of the holiday, we’ve picked a few designs by our American Gem Society members that feature one of the three, aforementioned gemstones. Click on each image below to get a closer look.
Ruby and diamond necklace, by Armadani.
Mozambique ruby with heart-shaped diamonds and micropavé, by Takat.
Ruby and diamond leaf earrings, by Fana.
North Star drop diamond earrings, by NEI Group.
Illa Comet Pendant, by Hearts On Fire.
Round diamond engagement ring, by Imagine Bridal.
Blue sapphire and diamond “Kara” bracelet, by Yael Designs.
Blue sapphire “Lecircque” ring, by Shah Luxury.
Cushion-cut blue sapphire and diamond dangle earrings, by Uneek Fine Jewelry.
May your Fourth of July celebration be sensational, safe, and full of sparkle! To find an AGS-credentialed jeweler near you, visit http://www.ags.org/findajeweler.
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!
“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.”
“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.
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.
Alexandrite and diamond pendant by Omi Privé.
Gemstones generally can be grouped into three major clarity categories:
Gems that are flawless or have very minor inclusions (e.g. aquamarines and amethysts)
Gems that are moderately included (e.g. rubies and sapphires)
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.
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.
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!
It has been some time since a green hue has been chosen as the color of the year, and this version—a bright shade with just a hint of yellow—is a refreshing color indeed!
Pantone says it was chosen as a symbolic color of new beginnings and renewal, a calming hue to soothe and relax, and a call to reconnect with the world around us. Indeed, Greenery reminds us of nature, and few things calm like plants and animals.
The color will be coming to the forefront of all things fashionable this year; clothes, interior décor and of course, jewelry.
Gems that embody this color are reviving peridot, versatile tourmaline, vibrant tsavorite garnet and of course, comforting emerald. In fact, emeralds have been a symbol of renewal and growth for ages, as well as wealth and status.
Alternately, peridot is considered the gem of the sun, while garnets and tourmalines have many meanings and supposed health benefits.
Certainly, all gems that match this sublime “Greenery” represent nature at its finest.
The color green, at its scientific core, is a color between blue and yellow, a mixture of those two opposing colors, if you will. The word, “green”, is thought to be derived from Middle English or possibly Germanic roots, most likely meaning, “grass” or “roots.”
Peridot and tsavorite ring by Erica Courtney.
Colombian emerald and diamond necklace by Takat.
Tsavorite and diamond band by Supreme Jewelry.
In many cultures and languages, green and blue often have similar names associated with the color, making it a great transition from last year’s Pantone color of the year, Serenity (a soft blue).
Science has proven that green is restful on the eyes, balancing to emotions and also helps combat fatigue.
Green is surprisingly hard to “copy” from nature’s mix to create pigments and dyes, including food coloring. Older methods included finely powdered malachite, another gemstone, to create stains.
Historically, green has an interesting history; in more arid locations, the color was one of hope for things to come and rebirth. The Egyptians used the color often, even going so far as to characterize some of their deities with green skin.
The Greeks weren’t overly fond of the color and rarely used it in artistic purists. The Romans, however, linked the color to their goddess, Venus, who was the goddess of love and nature, thus making the color more romantic.
During the Renaissance, where clothing colors denoted social status and occupation, green tones were worn primarily by merchants and bankers. It was a featured clothing color in many famous paintings of the era, including Mona Lisa, who wears a shade of darker, muted green.
Jade, ruby, and diamond earrings by Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry.
Mint tourmaline and diamond pendant by Parle.
Green quartz and diamond earrings by NEI Group.
The Masonic orders use green to symbolize immortality of all that is divine and true. Since the natural aspect of the color is unchanging, it is considered an immutable color.
In terms of jewelry, green was a popular color in both the Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras. In the former, it was used for accents of sweeping, nature-inspired designs that dominated the movement.
In the latter it was often used as a striking aside to other colors, using the bolder, darker hues of the color rather than the light and airy versions.
Greenery may seem like an odd choice…until the plants bloom once more. As spring hits, sooner rather than later, green becomes the prominent color we see. It is a surprisingly balanced color, managing to be both soft and bold. It is a romantic color, when you think about it, and invokes emotions when seen.
We all need a connection to nature in some form, and Greenery gives us that connection with our most obvious sense, sight.
And when it is seen, it is felt.
To see green colors is to feel them, and to wear a gemstone that holds such a deep tie to the world around us grounds us, makes us feel.
Wearing green jewelry is sure to help you feel at peace throughout your day. Who doesn’t need to feel relaxed during hectic and overfull days?
Embrace a green gemstone, make it your own and begin to enjoy 2017’s color, Greenery!
Isabelle Corvin is an AGS Certified Gemologist (CG) who is the Staff Gemologist at Panowicz Jewelers. Since she was 14-years-old, she knew she wanted to be a gemologist. Ms. Corvin also writes for Panowicz Jewelers’ blog.
Directional colors and styles of jewelry shape up annually based on a trio of familiar factors—what’s trending in Hollywood, what the fashion designers are sending down the runways, and the gem material that Mother Nature provides. The following six jewelry trends were born from the intersection of these occasions, so keep them top of mind this year for gifts and self-rewards.
Oversize earrings. Calderesque versions in costume materials were evident on models at several spring couture shows though karat-gold numbers are an heirloom-quality choice. AGS members have plenty of options!
Chandelier earrings in 18k gold with rose-cut diamonds and rubies from Vivaan.
Hearts. Love takes a literal interpretation next season. Just look at the word itself on sweaters by Michael Kors! While hearts can elicit mixed reactions—are they kitsch or cool?—know the fashion gods have committed to them this year. Would you wear a heart? Diamond options (here and below) are hard to resist!
Ring in platinum with a heart-shaped yellow diamond, a heart-shaped emerald, and colorless diamonds from Setaré.
Choker necklaces. These continue to enjoy the spotlight. Both Céline and Versace sent choker-wearing models down the spring runways to create chic style messages. Chokers can feature traditional (think cameos) or contemporary elements ideal for wear dressed up for evening or down with denim during the day.
Choker necklace in 18k Strawberry Gold with Chocolate and Vanilla diamonds and a Neon Paraiba Tourmaline from Le Vian.
Mismatched earrings. These range from subtly mismatched styles—one stud and one drop—at Dior to completely different designs on each ear. And related to this trend of uneven mates are the large single earrings being worn solo. No matter how you wear the mismatched look, its novelty will attract attention and admirers.
Statement necklaces. Recent red carpet jewelry placements have fueled a growing appetite for attention-grabbing necklaces. Expect to keep seeing bibs, big pendants on long chains (think Givenchy’s über-cool agates), and multi-layer options that build a look by using many slimmer styles.
Collar necklace in 18k gold with blue chalcedony from Goshwara.
Pearls. From natural-color Chinese freshwaters to Japanese Akoya and South Sea varieties, pearls are making a comeback among jewelry designers for their iconic beauty. Even fashion brands like Gucci worked pearl accents into 2017 lines, further cementing the lustrous orb’s must-have status.
If you’re loving these jewelry trends, search for an AGS jeweler near you. They’ll help you find any of the above designs, match you with similar looks, or help you design your very own trend-setting style!
It’s election day in the USA! Months of election coverage culminates as America heads to the polls. We wanted to pay tribute to this important occasion in our own way: with red, white and blue jewelry designs from members of the American Gem Society (AGS). These beautiful pieces get our vote!
Let’s begin with some bright and cheery red gemstones. Rubies naturally come to mind, but when it comes to red hues—there are many varieties of gemstones to choose from.