Silver Shines On

By Robin Skibicki

The popularity of silver jewelry never seems to ebb, as designers are finding new and artistic ways to style the affordable and malleable metal. Whether silver is mixed with other metals or set with diamonds and gemstones, it’s a go-to look that complements a wide range of colors and styles.

For centuries, silver has been prized for its incredible luster and workability. In this industry, we naturally think of it as a versatile metal used to design beautiful jewelry. But it’s also applied towards technology and industry, used in the home, and often considered for investment purposes.

Pure silver is highly tarnish-resistant but is too soft to use for jewelry design. Other metals like copper, nickel, or zinc, are added to harden silver. For example, sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% another metal. Silver products sometimes may be marked “925” which means that 925 parts per thousand are pure silver.

Some jewelry may be described as silverplate: a layer of silver is bonded to a base metal. According to the law, quality-marked silver also must bear the name or a U.S. registered trademark of the company or person that will stand behind the mark.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive metal for your fine jewelry, silver is a good choice. Since silver is soft and scratches easily, it’s best used for jewelry that is not worn daily.

The versatile beauty of silver is showcased in these designs by our credentialed AGS members.

Michael Schofield & Co.

MichaelSchofield

A twin fish motif artfully decorates a sterling silver cuff.

 

Breuning

Breuning

Petals of silver and silver coated with yellow gold feature a sapphire center.

 

MK Diamonds & Jewelry

MKDiamonds

Sterling silver earrings featuring pear-cut blue topaz and blue sapphires set in black rhodium sterling silver.

 

Parlé

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Sterling silver Australian boulder opal and sapphire pendant.

 

Ed Levin Jewelry

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Sterling silver Secret Heart Bracelet “swings open” to reveal a secret heart.

If you’re in the market for silver jewelry—perhaps you like one of the designs pictured above—or have some silver jewelry that needs some TLC, visit a credentialed AGS jeweler near you.

Could You Propose Without an Engagement Ring?

Man Making Proposal With Wedding Ring And Gift Box, Wedding ConcThe answer is, YES! It’s okay to think outside of the proverbial engagement ring box when it comes to popping the question. Picking the right engagement ring is a big decision and investment, putting a lot of pressure on the one proposing. They’re already feeling the stress of whether or not their heartfelt proposal will be jubilantly accepted.

But for those who don’t want to propose empty handed, AGS member, The Inspired Collection, has designed a creative and contemporary alternative: Wilshi – The Proposal Ring®. They have nine quality ring designs crafted from sterling silver and each comes in a hand-crafted wooden box.

“The idea came from chatting to lots of men and women who were wanting to plan a romantic surprise proposal but ended up proposing without a ring because they wanted their love to be a part of the selection process,” says Chris Benham, CEO of Inspired Jewellery Limited. “If he involved her in the selection process before the proposal then it would ruin the surprise. So we thought, let’s create a fun collection of rings that allowed him to make a surprise proposal and still drop down on one knee and surprise her.”

For your inspiration, here are a few of their beautifully designed rings:

Straight from the heart.
Wilshi® Heart Ring

Oceans of love.
Wilshi® Shell Ring

Shhh—it’s our little secret.
Wilshi® Secret Ring

Check out their website to see more designs, be inspired by the Wilshi® Epiphany story, and get some terrific proposal ideas!

Once the two of you are ready to shop for an engagement ring together, be sure to shop with a knowledgeable jeweler you can trust: an AGS credentialed jeweler. They will take the time to listen to your needs and help you pick out that perfect ring. Click here to find an AGS jeweler near you.

We wish you all the best this Valentine’s Day and may you and yours find the greatest happiness!

June Hits the Birthstone Trifecta

By Robin Skibicki

Those born in June celebrate their special month with three beautiful birthstones: the luminous pearl, enchanting alexandrite and magical moonstone.

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Pearls

Pearls are the only gemstone in the world that comes from a living organism, and can be found in both saltwater and freshwater. Whether natural or cultured, a pearl forms when a mollusk produces layers of nacre (pronounced NAY-kur) around any type of irritant inside its shell. In natural pearls, the irritant may be another organism from the water. In cultured pearls, a mother-of-pearl bead or a piece of tissue is inserted (by man) into the mollusk to start the process. There are also different types of mollusks that produce very different looking pearls.

For centuries, pearls have been a symbol of beauty and purity. Today, they are regarded as both classic and contemporary, coming in many more fashionable styles than your grandmother’s traditional strand of pearls.

 

Honora pearl and rock crystal

Sterling silver necklace with five rows of white baroque coin freshwater cultured pearls and rock crystal, by Honora.

 

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Mastoloni designed a 16.3mm Tahitian pearl set in 18kt white gold adorned with diamonds on each side.

 

Shogun Pearl e241

Natural golden South Sea cultured pearl and diamond earrings in 18kt gold, by Shogun Pearl.

 

Alexandrite

This variety of color change chrysoberyl is extremely rare, placing the alexandrite in its own mineral group. When this remarkable stone is viewed in daylight or fluorescent light, it appears green or blueish green. When seen under incandescent lighting, it morphs to a purplish red.

Due to its rarity, some jewelers stock synthetic versions of this chameleon-like gemstone. Synthetic gemstones are man-made alternatives to the natural material, possessing the same physical, optical, and chemical properties as the natural gemstone.

Alexandrite is a relatively modern gem, first discovered in Russia around 1831 during the reign of its namesake, Czar Alexander II. Although alexandrite has a short history, it is has been associated with good fortune, enhanced creativity and focus.

The photos below are key examples of the incredible color-changing properties of the alexandrite. OMI Privé‘s, Niveet Nagpal, designed this bewitching brooch named “Alexis.” Each photo shows the same brooch under both color phases.

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The lizard’s body is 18K white gold, and the back is made up of 6.06 ctw of alexandrite rough. The eyes are tsavorite, the mouth is ruby, and the entire piece is accented with diamonds, alexandrites and black diamonds. A work of art!

AG Gems Alexandrite

A natural, oval-cut Alexandrite ring by AG Gems is flanked by two half-moon cut diamonds and accented by 42 round brilliant cut diamonds.

 

Moonstone

A phenomenal gemstone, moonstones show a floating play of light (called adularescence) and occasionally show either a multi-rayed star or a cat’s eye. They are part of the family of minerals called feldspar and occur in many igneous and metamorphic rocks. Moonstone is a translucent stone that comes in a variety of colors, such as white, gray, green, blue, peach and champagne. The most popular is the rainbow moonstone, which is an iridescent white or gray displaying a blue sheen in the light. To enhance the adularescence, moonstone is often cut into a smooth cabochon shape.

Moonstone lore appears in varying cultures over the centuries, each associating its mesmerizing properties with goddesses, psychic abilities, femininity and motherhood, calming, protection, health and good fortune. Here are some exquisite designs featuring the magnificent moonstone.

 

Moonstone LikaBehar-1

The Pompei Pendant by Lika Behar Collection features a tear drop rainbow moonstone framed by 24k gold and oxidized sterling silver.

 

Moonstone yael-earrings

Yael Designs‘ Moonrise earrings are set in 18k white gold, and feature moonstones and blue sapphires, accented with ideal cut diamonds.

 

Moonstone-peach Ritani

A round, peach moonstone pendant by Ritani is set in 18kt yellow gold with a beaded edge finish.

 

If you’re in search of pearl, alexandrite or moonstone jewelry, visit our Find a Jeweler search for an AGS credentialed jeweler near you.

American Gem Society Member Spotlight: Lisa Bridge, CG

By Randi Molofsky

Lisa BridgeGemologist and designer, Lisa Bridge, has been around fine jewelry and gemstones her entire life. As a fifth generation member of the Seattle-based Ben Bridge empire (70 stores and counting across the United States!), she knows a thing or two about what kind of accessories women want to wear, and luckily enough, she has the right connections (wink, wink) to design her version of statement jewelry at accessible price points. We spoke to Lisa about how her collection came to be, and what’s next for the brand.

Jewelry is definitely in your blood. What is it like to be a fifth generation jeweler?

It is a tremendous joy to have spent my life dreaming of jewelry! Growing up, it was what we talked about around the dinner table and our spring break trips were spent visiting stores. Being in business with my family is wonderful, I get to learn from them and share in the business that they have built.

moss agateLisa Bridge Angular Moss Agate Necklace in Sterling Silver

Why did you decide to earn your gemology degree and move into design?

I believe in professionalism and I knew that I needed the best knowledge to achieve it. I sought my gemological titles to gain a base of knowledge that I am constantly building upon.

Your collection uses gemstones in 14k gold and silver. What is your design process like and what stones and silhouettes are you loving right now?

Every piece of jewelry has a different journey. Sometimes I am inspired by a particular stone – for example, I found a wonderfully shaped piece of lapis in Tucson last year. It was almost a guitar-pick shape. I took that piece of lapis home and stared at it dreaming of what it could become. I designed a suite of jewelry using this unusual shape and customers have really responded to it!

The other way I find inspiration is in experiencing incredible places. I love gazing at a beautiful vista of mountains, trees, and water. I find ideas in the shapes and colors that I see. Traveling is one of my favorite things and now trying to capture the essence of amazing places is a delicious challenge!

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Lisa Bridge Malachite Ring in Sterling Silver

What have the reactions from your customers been to your line?

I feel deeply gratified that customers have embraced the collection. I am encouraged by people who come back to purchase a second or third piece having loved what they already have. Having my creations become part of people’s lives is truly a wonderful gift.

chalcedony hoops

Lisa Bridge Chalcedony & Agate Hoop Earrings in Sterling Silver

What’s next for the LB collection?

I am excited to be introducing a new collection this fall full of new inspiration, colors, and gemstones!

Shop the Lisa Bridge for Ben Bridge collection right here.