‘Tis the Season for Stackables, Studs, and Solitaires

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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.

Stackables

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!

Studs

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.

Solitaires

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).

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!

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.

Jewelry Buying Tips from the Pros

By Donna Jolly, RJ
American Gem Society

 

cropped-blogbanner1.pngYou know it’s the holiday season when magazines and blogs run a “shopping tips” article. We thought, though, that you should hear advice from the people actually in the field who have learned a thing or two about best-buying practices: the jewelers. Of course, these are not just any retailers. They are American Gem Society credentialed jewelers.  Every day, they help their customers find the perfect piece of jewelry, whether it’s finding the right style or fitting the right budget—or both. Here is some solid advice straight from a few jewelers:

Catherine Fitzgibbon, CGA, from Coffin & Trout Fine Jewellers:  “Buyer beware when it comes to 80% off sales, just remember 80% off of what?  An overinflated retail price that is not realistic?

Also, your buying experience should be fun and enjoyable. Ask a lot of questions and make sure you are comfortable with the answers.  The staff should be professional, well-educated with superior product knowledge and be able to provide detailed accurate answers to all of your questions.  If the salesperson doesn’t know what they are selling, then how do you know what you are buying?

Lastly, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.  Go with your gut feeling on this one as it is probably right.”

Jim Summa, CGA, Summa Jewelry:  “If a man is shopping for a gift of jewelry for a woman, we recommend to try and pick up on the style of jewelry she wears before you even walk in a jewelry store. Does she like stud earrings or dangle style? Does she wear yellow, white, rose metals or a combination? Has she dropped any hints lately about what she would like to have or has admired on a friend? It helps to narrow down some choices when there are a lot to pick from. Also ask about wish list items that may be on file at the store. Many salespeople keep notes throughout the year when customers stop in for a routine visit.”

John Carter, CGA, Jack Lewis Jewelers:  “Don’t be afraid to take a chance and get something for your loved one that you’re not positive he/she will love. Go out on a limb and choose something that YOU think they will love.  Probing and asking too many questions can ruin the surprise and the holidays are about the magic of choosing something to express how much that person is appreciated. If you tip them off to what you’re planning it can take away from that moment and how they feel when they see it. Any reputable store should have a generous enough return policy that will allow for a return or exchange after the holidays. I always tell my clients, ‘I’ll take the risk if you do.’  So go out there and get them something that reminds you of them but most importantly, tell them why!”

Louis Smith, CG, Smithworks Fine Jewelry:  “Be sure to always buy from a jewelry professional and not a sales clerk. You will gain knowledge and feel confident in your fine jewelry purchases. Also, if something is less expensive, the first question should be why?”

We also asked Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company for their advice—because insuring your valuable is always a great tip, right?

“Whether you are buying jewelry for a loved one or are the lucky recipient this holiday season, consider how you’re going to protect your jewelry for years to come. Having worldwide comprehensive coverage, such as our Perfect Circle Jewelry Insurance gives you freedom to wear and enjoy your new jewelry now and keep it protected for the future.”

Finally, we have one rock solid piece of advice for shopping for jewelry this holiday season. Shop with a knowledgeable, professional, credentialed jeweler. It will boost your buying confidence and make the shopping experience less stressful. You can find an American Gem Society credentialed jeweler here.

Happy shopping, happy holidays and here’s to a sparkling New Year! We’ll see you in 2015!

 

2014 Holiday Jewelry Trends

By Amanda L Colborn

With the holiday season right around the corner – this is the perfect time to post about upcoming jewelry trends so you can dress to impress at your next holiday party.  We’ve come across several themes this season, but the following six definitely stood out the most.

Let’s jump right to them:

Charms

Link bracelet in 14K white gold with 14K rose gold rose charm from Ben Bridge .

Link bracelet in 14K white gold with 14K rose gold rose charm from Ben Bridge

Charm bracelets are classic for the holiday season.  What better way to show the one you care about than with a beautiful charm selected just for them? This is the ultimate in personalization for the bracelet lover in your life.  Charm bracelets are also a perfect way to show off to friends and family what is important to you.  They are guaranteed conversation starters!

Rose Gold

Rose gold ring with green gold and diamonds from Jabel Jewelry

Rose gold ring with green gold and diamonds from Jabel Jewelry

Rose gold is the epitome of feminine elegance.  It brings out the brilliance of diamonds and colored gemstones and complements just about every taste.  Rose gold pieces have been generating a lot of likes and compliments via the American Gem Society’s social media pages and we’re just as in love with it as you are.  Add an additional touch of beauty to your holiday outfit with a gorgeous piece of jewelry set in rose gold.

Seventies Flair

White and yellow diamonds set in 18kt gold with a pearl center from Yael Designs

White and yellow diamonds set in 18K gold with a pearl center from Yael Designs

Recently at the American Gem Society, we got into a discussion about the comeback of yellow gold.  It seems to be showing up a lot more in the fashion-scene in an especially seventies way.  Thick, chunky chains, bold medallions and sleek cuffs are appearing more and more in yellow gold.  Accentuate a chic, minimalist outfit this holiday season with a bold piece of jewelry.  Tell us how you feel about this trend in our comments section.

Mismatched Earrings

Pink sapphire and rose gold studs by Omi Prive

Pink sapphire and rose gold studs by Omi Prive

Pink sapphire and rose gold drop earrings by Omi Prive

Pink sapphire and rose gold drop earrings by Omi Prive

Two earrings and two earlobes no longer are one in the same! Mismatched earrings is very on-trend this season and we absolutely love the idea of pairing together a stud and a drop like these two sets shown above.  In both the same gemstone and type of metal – these two sets are made for each other!

Unique Rings

Woven braided saddle ring with diamond pave in 18K gold from John Hardy

Woven braided saddle ring with diamond pave in 18K gold from John Hardy

There are so many options for unique rings, this might be the easiest and most favorite trend to pull off this season.  From rings which cover your entire finger or just a larger portion of it (such as the ring shown above) to tiny, delicate midi-rings to asymmetrical rings – you have countless options to mix and match at your leisure.  Let these rings steal the show at your holiday party by pairing it with just a light, simple necklace.  Your friends will be in awe!

Layered Jewelry

Pearl and mixed metal layered necklace from Mastoloni Pearls

Pearl and mixed metal layered necklace from Mastoloni Pearls

Layered jewelry, like this statement necklace from Mastoloni Pearls make even the most simple outfit something truly spectacular.  Both necklaces and bracelets layer well and don’t fret about mixing metals! Shades of gold and silver can all work well together.  Give it a try and see what fun combinations you’ll discover!

And there we have it, your holiday jewelry trends report for the 2014 season.  Experiment, have fun and show off your fine jewelry pieces to friends and family this holiday season.  And don’t forget! It’s truly better to give than to receive so share your newly discovered, secret jewelry knowledge with your loved ones as well!

5 Reasons to Love Rubies

By Donna Jolly, RJ

The birthstone of July is the fiery Ruby. As someone who has walked up and down many aisles at jewelry trade shows, I can attest to the eye-drawing power of rubies. You see one out of the corner of your eye and you cannot help but stop immediately and take a look. If you happen to run across a cluster of rubies, you might be standing outside the display case, gawking for a long time. Refreshments might be needed.

There are many, many reasons to love rubies. Here are five:

1. Jewelry lovers love them. Elizabeth Taylor, the grand dame of Hollywood jewelry lovers, adored her rubies. 105337119_taylor_286348c

She wrote about receiving this stunning set (left) given to her by her third husband, Mike Todd, and she makes it sound like a magical moment, a la Hollywood style. Dame Elizabeth was taking a swim when he presented her with this gorgeous gift:

 “I got out and put my arms around him, and he said, ‘Wait a minute, don’t joggle your tiara.’ Because I was wearing the tiara he had bought for me in the pool! He was holding a red leather box, and inside was a ruby-and-diamond bib necklace, which glittered in the warm light. It was like the sun, lit up and made of red fire. First Mike put it around my neck and smiled. Then he bent down and put matching earrings on me. Next came the bracelet. Since there was no mirror around, I had to look into the water. The jewelry was glorious, rippling red on blue like a painting. I shrieked with joy, put my arms around Mike’s neck, and pulled him into the pool after me. It was a perfect summer day and a day of perfect love.”

 Wait—she wore a tiara in the pool? And then she dove in wearing that expensive ruby and diamond set? Time to brush up on jewelry care. Thankfully, this is a great lead-in to reason #2 to love rubies:

2. They are very durable. Ruby is a variety of the gems species corundum. As a result it is harder than any natural gemstone except diamond, which means a ruby is durable enough for everyday wear. In fact, it’s one of the more popular alternative choices in engagement rings.

3. It’s a rare gift from nature. Fine-quality ruby is extremely rare, and the color of the gem is most important to its value. The most prized color is a medium or medium dark vivid red or slightly purplish red. If the gem is too light or has too much purple or orange, it will be called a fancy-color sapphire.

4. It has healing powers. According to lore, ruby can aid in improving emotions. It is also known to increase integrity, devotion, and happiness. Dame Elizabeth seemed pretty happy when Mike Todd gave her those rubies, so that part we know is true!

5. Because of jewelry like this, from Jye’s International. Hello beautiful!

 

Happy Birthday, July Babies!Jye's International Inc.

Jewelry with a Cause: Gumuchian creates awareness for HoneyLove

By Donna Jolly, RJ
American Gem Society

American Gem Society member Gumuchian recently introduced a new collection they hope will help create awareness of the declining honeybee population, which is affecting plant life and food supply worldwide. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the collection – simply named “B” – will be donated to the non-profit, HoneyLove.org, which supports urban beekeeping and home gardens.  According to recent studies, including those by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one in every three bites of food consumed in the United States is either directly or indirectly pollinated by bees.

Charm bracelet from Gumuchian's B collection

“I have never been afraid of bees. I think they’re wonderful” said Patricia Gumuchian, who was inspired to design the collection after reading numerous articles about the effects that a declining honeybee population would have on the environment. “I look around our office of women and think about the worker bees – who are the female bees – and how valuable they are to our livelihood. Our family gatherings and holidays largely center on all types of foods. What would happen if these things just went away? The effects could be detrimental. We need to change what’s going on.”

 

Charm from Gumuchian's B Collection charm bracelet

The suite itself will be offered in 18K gold and includes both link and cuff bracelets, earrings, pendants, rings, and five different bee-related charms. “Many of our collections are inspired by nature” said Vice President of Sales, Myriam Gumuchian, “but this aspect of nature didn’t just inspire the designs, it also inspired us to be part of something bigger. A productive hive consists of successful teamwork, which we demonstrate daily in our New York office. The ‘B’ collection represents our appreciation of these remarkable creatures and our goal is to bring awareness to this growing problem. If honeybees continue to decline at the rate they are, we are all in big trouble.”

 

For more information about urban beekeeping, visit www.honeylove.org.

Honeycomb and honeybee necklace This rose gold bracelet features a small diamond encrusted honeybee. Diamond and rose gold earrings evocative of honeycombs. Pretty sweet

Jewelry and Sweet Memories

By Donna Jolly, CSA
Deputy Executive Directory, American Gem Society

This morning, I felt a bit ambitious and decided to dig through a jewelry box that I hadn’t looked at in a while, to see if there were any pieces I wanted to clean or maybe take to my favorite jeweler and repurpose with a new design. The jewelry I keep in this box is more of the memento kind—jewelry passed down that is not really my taste, or jewelry I bought years ago and no longer wear. Much of it is costume jewelry. In fact, I’m not sure any of the jewelry in this box could be considered fine jewelry. Maybe semi-fine at best.

Inside the box is a blue broach that once belonged to my mother. It looks like something that came from a department store in the 50s or 60s. It’s a pretty blue, and having worked around gemologists for a number of years, I know it’s not a real gem as it is a rather odd shade of blue for a precious stone. It’s blue like the sky, late in the afternoon on a cold wintery day. It’s not warm like a sapphire, yet is too deep for an aquamarine. I’ve never worn this broach, but I’ve always liked it. I can imagine my mother wearing it when she was younger, making the perfect accent to whatever pretty dress she might be wearing. In fact, I have a vague memory—so vague it may not be real—of her wearing this with a dark blue dress that was cinched at the waist with a thin belt. I can see the broach on her chest, just above her heart. In my mind, she looks happy and flirty, and this old piece of jewelry, no doubt, has something to do with that.

The item that really brought back memories—very vivid, real ones—was a necklace my parents gave me decades ago when I was in my teens. It was my first piece of “fine” jewelry. I remember unwrapping the gift and feeling completely caught off guard when I saw what my parents had given me. It was a gold necklace with a double heart pendant, and small pearl in the center. It was the epitome of what a “sweet” necklace would look like and very fitting for a southern girl in her early teens.

I loved it instantly. It made me feel a little more grown up than I was, and pretty and feminine, and . . . it made me feel loved. I know. You can’t buy love, but that day, on that cold Christmas morning so long ago I won’t tell you (because then you can figure out my age) I opened a present from her mama and daddy, and for just a second, all in our world was as it should be. Whatever teenage fights I had with my parents back then (YOU WON’T LET ME STAY OUT LATE!) fell away and were forgotten with the amnesia that a perfect gift brings.

At some point, I outgrew this necklace; probably sooner than later. Either me or my mother, though, had the foresight to put it back in its original box and tuck it away, and over the years, despite my numerous moves, from my hometown to San Francisco to Las Vegas, to LA, back to Vegas, I carried that jewelry with me. My parents are both gone now, but if I want to feel the love they had for me, and I for them, I only have to do one thing. Open my jewelry box.

Mama_Jewelry