September is for Sapphires

sapphiremulti003As we turn our calendars to September, we start thinking of things like heading back to school, indulging in a pumpkin spice latte, and planning our fall fashions. For those celebrating a birthday in September, they’re thinking of their birthstone: the sapphire!

Although sapphire typically refers to the rich blue gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, this royal gem actually occurs in a rainbow of hues. Sapphires come in every color except red, which would then be classified as ruby.

Trace elements like iron, titanium, chromium, copper and magnesium give naturally colorless corundum a tint of blue, yellow, purple, orange or green, respectively. Sapphires in any color but blue are called “fancies.”

Pink sapphires, in particular, tow a fine line between ruby and sapphire. In the U.S., these gems must meet a minimum color saturation to be considered rubies. Pinkish orange sapphires called padparadscha (from the Sri Lankan word for “lotus flower”) can actually draw higher prices than some blue sapphires.

Due to the remarkable hardness of sapphires—which measure 9 on the Mohs scale, second only to diamond—they aren’t just valuable in jewelry, but also in industrial applications including scientific instruments, high-durability windows, watches, and electronics.

Sapphires make stunning gifts for anyone born in September or celebrating a 5th or 45th wedding anniversary, so be sure to visit an AGS jeweler. They will help you find that perfect gift, whether you’re seeking the classic blue or another shade from the sapphire rainbow.

Need some inspiration? View this collection of designs featuring the sapphire!

Carelle

Carelle

The Whirl Sapphire Bangle by Carelle is 18k yellow gold with 1.06ct sapphire.

 

 

Michael Schofield & Co.

MichaelSchofield

Yellow sapphire and diamond earrings by Michael Schofield & Co.

 

 

Setaré

Setare

Sri Lankan sapphire earrings mounted in platinum and framed by diamonds, by Setaré.

 

 

Yael Designs

Yael

Yael Designs’ two-tone 18k gold pendant featuring a 1.59 carat pink sapphire, framed by pink sapphires and ideal cut diamonds.

 

Gumuchian

Gumuchian

Gumuchian’s Cloud 9 earrings are 18kt white gold set with blue sapphires and diamonds.

 

 

Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry

RicardoBasta-Lilac

Lilac sapphire ring designed by Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry. It’s surrounded by two diamonds and set in platinum.

 

 

Suna Bros.

Suna-StarSapphire

Star sapphire surrounded by diamonds, designed by Suna Bros.

 

AGS Member Spotlight: Suna Bros.

By Randi Molofsky

Aron&JonWhen investing in a piece of fine jewelry, there’s no better choice than a brand with long, distinguished heritage that is known for exemplary craftsmanship and customer service. Enter New York-based Suna Bros., jewelers that do classics better than anyone else in a variety of styles featuring exceptional diamonds and colored gemstones. We spoke to Danielle Barber, Suna’s Director of Creative and Marketing, to find out why its collections, all made in New York City, are still so coveted after more than eight decades.

Suna Bros. has an over 80-year tradition and is a family business, how does that play into the day-to-day workings of the company?

Both Aron and Jonathan Suna are dedicated to the success of Suna Bros. They are involved, truly involved, in every facet of daily business. They’re in early, stay late and work in manufacturing, customer service, design, stone buying etc. Since every Suna piece is crafted in the workshop in our NYC headquarters, they’re often working with our master jewelers or discussing new styles with our designer. They’re also always accessible to Suna retailers, many whom have had long-standing relationships with them, and they’ll work directly with our clients on special orders or requests. It’s inspiring to see such a level of pride and dedication.

Suna is exceptionally great at creating classic, timeless settings. What are some of the most popular styles that the company makes today?

Aron and Jonathan’s father, Kenneth, started Suna Bros. specializing in finely made channel-set wedding bands. Created with that original, old-world aesthetic, these bands remain popular today. The quality is unrivaled: each is individually crafted from start to finish with beautifully hand-cut azures and hand-set diamonds. Classics! Our platinum and pavé diamond styles are perennial favorites as well, especially one ring in particular with 2.20cts. of diamonds.

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You must have a great jewelry archive!  Are there any specific pieces that have been made for many years?

Absolutely, but one piece in particular comes to mind: the Suna starfish. For over 40 years, our small pavé starfish pin has rode the wave of top selling items. It’s become a Suna icon.  We’ve since added complementary larger and smaller pins, pendants and earrings, but the entire starfish collection is based on that one piece.

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Big, rich colored gemstones are back and more popular than ever. Which are you loving right now?

We are loving color!  The Suna spectrum has been shining with all kinds of gems. We’re especially enamored with tourmaline and its amazing palette. We love them all: paraiba, African paraiba-types, rubellites, greens and incredible pinkish peach hues. It’s impossible to choose a favorite.

Tell us about your Couture collection – is there a recent piece or one that’s being made that you can share with us?

We’re building more and more upon our color collection of one-of-a-kind styles. One gem in particular stands out: a gorgeous 12-plus carat cushion-shaped, African paraiba-type tourmaline. It is a magnificent gem. We’re hoping to finish a ring by the end of May, just in time for Couture, the most exclusive U.S. fine jewelry trade show of the year that takes place in Las Vegas!

Tourmaline

March Birthstone Spotlight: The Tranquil Aquamarine

By Robin Skibicki
Aqua2There are two birthstones that represent the month of March: aquamarine and bloodstone. Both are beautiful and unique gems, but aquamarine is currently the most popular of jewelry designers and wearers.

The aquamarine is a member of the beryl family—same as the emerald—and its colors can range in tones from colorless pale blue, to blue green or teal. The larger the stone, the more intense the color. The most valuable gemstones come from Brazil, but is also mined in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique.

Aqua3This gemstone was believed to protect sailors, guaranteeing a safe voyage ahead. It is said its serene colors can cool the temper, allowing the wearer to be calm and levelheaded. This leads to heightened awareness, better communication, and the ability to retort with a quick response.

The healing powers associated with this stone are believed to cure ailments of the liver, jaws, stomach and throat. The transparent aquamarine was once used to make eyeglasses and lenses.

Now that you know a little more about these brilliant blue beauties, here are a few exquisite examples of how designers showcase the gorgeous gem.

An 18K white gold stunner by AG Gems, with an 9.59 carat aquamarine
flanked by blue sapphires, accented by diamonds.

AG-gems

Aquamarine and diamond pendant, a new addition to
Jye’s International Inc. Luxury Collection.

JYE-aquamarine and diamond pendant

Elegant dangle earrings by Spark Creations, featuring aquamarine and diamonds.

Spark-aquamarine

A glistening collection of aquamarine favorites by SUNA Bros.

Suna

A diamond swan and garnets frame a soothing, 75.59 carat aquamarine.
The Swan Lake pendant by Yael Designs.

SwanLake-Yael

To learn more about aquamarine, visit https://www.americangemsociety.org/birthstones.

Rare, Precious and Ready for Primetime: Paraiba Tourmaline

By Randi Molofsky

ParaibaTourmalines are getting a lot of love recently–from the bold red rubellite to the beguiling teal blue/green indicolite–but no variety is more coveted than the nearly neon Paraiba. Named after the northeastern state of Brazil where they were first found, they are instantly recognizable by its electric glow of bright blue/green (attributed to small amounts of copper in its chemical composition), these gems are rare and expensive (often costing 5 figures per carat).

So, the question is: why exactly are Paraibas so pricey? For the answer, we’ll have to look at the history, provenance and availability of these spectacular stones.

Discovered just 27 years ago in Paraiba, Brazil by a miner named Heitor Dimas Barbosa, this gemstone is notoriously difficult to excavate. Mined by hand to avoid damaging the crystals, Paraibas in the rough are found in pencil-thin veins deep below the earth’s surface in very small sizes. Although, a bit of good news: since its discovery, chemically similar (or in cases, identical) tourmalines have been found in Mozambique and Nigeria in larger sizes, making it a bit easier to own.

Celebrities are now getting in on the action, too. Julianne Moore, one of our best dressed of the Golden Globes, paired her blue Tom Ford gown with a Chopard High Jewelry ring featuring 18.32 carats of Paraiba tourmalines and 2.98 carats of diamonds. Covered with pavé Paraibas and set into an eye-catching blue titanium, the ring was one of the most daring on the red carpet.

JulianneMooreIf you’re dreaming of your own gorgeous piece of Paraiba jewelry, look no further than New York-based Suna Bros. Making jewelry in the U.S. for 80 years, this family business has a knack for choosing investment-worthy stones for each hand-set creation. From a pear-shaped Paraiba perfect as an alternative engagement ring to fashion-forward silhouettes in yellow gold or with eye-catching diamond accents, the sky’s the limit.

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