Erica Courtney’s Tucson Gem Show Tour

By Randi Molofsky

EC_Aug_headshotEach winter jewelry designers, stone dealers and rock hunters head to the desert for the world’s largest gem and mineral show. From teeny-tiny precious gems that go for tens of thousands a carat to massive geodes that have to be trucked in, the annual fair in Tucson, AZ, is a favorite of fine jewelry designers like Los Angeles-based Erica Courtney.

Although she regularly travels the globe in search of spectacular colored gems for her signature Drop Dead Gorgeous collection—recent trips include Tanzania and Hong Kong—it’s this pilgrimage to the Southwest that holds a special place in her heart.

“It’s just paradise for us,” Erica explains. “We get to see all these types of amazing gemstones, plus we get to meet new people in the industry. What could be better than networking and keeping ourselves updated with the latest gemstones?”

Below, Erica shares her three favorite gemstone finds from the show, and why exactly she’ll be bringing them home to use in upcoming collections.

EC tourmaline

Tourmaline

Tourmaline: Tourmaline has a bunch of different colorations, and we were loving them because we saw a lot of new and exciting colors. Some of them can be so bright and beautiful, it’s so hard to resist. Plus, the clarity of tourmalines is always exquisite.

EC csarite

Csarite

Csarite: Csarite is just such an interesting stone—did you know it’s only found in one place in the world, in the remote Turkish Anatolian mountains? Everyone loves the way the stone changes color from from kiwi greens in sunlight to raspberry purplish-pinks in candlelight; as well as the dispersion on the stone. It’s just so unique!

Purple Garnets: Purple garnets were also one the highlights of the show, they had such a saturated and vivid coloration—I have never seen such beautiful garnets! So different and super sparkly, just a shade different from amethyst. Gorgeous!

One look at Erica’s designs and you’ll understand why colored gemstones are so important for inspiration. Here are three brand new pieces by Erica Courtney with her signature detailed settings and bold color.

spinel

18K yellow gold “Sayeda” ring featuring a 5.49ct spinel, accented with 1.26ctw Rubelite Tourmaline and 1.21ctw diamonds.

mint tourmaline

18K yellow gold “Crossover” ring featuring a 7.42ct mint tourmaline, accented with two 0.47ctw opals on the sides and 1.09ctw diamonds.

pariaba

18K yellow gold “Cigar Band” ring featuring a 2.10ct paraiba tourmaline cabochon, accented with 0.22ctw paraiba tourmaline and 0.65ctw diamonds.

Happy Birthday October!

By Amanda L. Colborn

Happy birthday to all the October babies out there! October features two very unique and different birthstones.  Tourmaline and Opal, two of the most gorgeous and diverse birthstones make beautiful and vibrant jewelry.  Let’s explore them individually:

Tourmaline

Tourmaline has become a favorite gemstone among jewelry designers, and gem collectors the world over. Since it is available in a wide variety of colors, it is ideally suited to almost anyone’s taste. Tourmaline also is known for displaying several colors in the same gemstone.  These bi-color or tri-color gems are formed in many combinations; gemstones with clear color distinctions are highly prized.  One multi-color variety is known as watermelon tourmaline, and features green, pink, and white colors bands; to resemble its namesake, the gemstone is cut into thin slices having a pink center, white ring, and green edge.  Tourmaline is found in many localities including Brazil, Afghanistan, East Africa, and the USA.

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline rings from Suna Bros.

Tourmaline rings from Suna Bros.

Opal

The name opal derives from the Greek Opallos, meaning “to see a change (of color).”  Opals range in color from milky white to black with flashes of yellow, orange, green, red, and blue. An opal’s beauty is the product of contrast between its color play and its background.  Opal is a formation of non-crystalline silica gel that seeped into crevices in the sedimentary strata. Through time and nature’s heating and molding processes, the gel hardened into the form of opals. The opal is composed of particles closely packed in spherical arrangements. When packed together in a regular pattern, a three-dimensional array of spaces are created that give opal its radiance.

Fire Opal from AGS headquarters

Fire Opal from AGS headquarters

Yellow gold and Opal pendant from Spark Creations.

Yellow gold and Opal pendant from Spark Creations.

Close-up shot of a Opal pendant from Sydney Rosen Company

Close-up shot of a Opal pendant from Sydney Rosen Company

On behalf of everyone at AGS, we wish all the October babies out there a very happy birthday!

To find a beautiful opal and tourmaline jewelry in your area from an AGS credentialed jeweler, please check out our Find a Jeweler tool here: https://www.americangemsociety.org/find-a-jeweler

Instagram Favorites

By Amanda L. Colborn

It has been awhile since we blogged about our top likes for the American Gem Society Instagram page. We thought this would be a good opportunity to look back at what fine jewelry pieces have the most likes from our followers.  The followers of our Instagram page definitely do not disappoint, the four pieces below are what have the most likes and they are absolutely stunning!

blog_omiprive_1First up is a stunning ring by Omi Privé.  It’s easy to see why people loved this ring so much, just look at it! This jaw-dropping 10.10ct pink-orange tourmaline is set in beautiful rose gold and surrounded by diamonds. This ring is so feminine and classy, who wouldn’t fall in love with it?

blog_yaeldesigns_2Next up, a unique piece by Yael Designs.  This ring is a blue zircon and diamonds set in white gold.  We love the claw clasp holding the center stone, this ring would be a perfect accompaniment to any upcoming winter-themed celebration.

blog_wimmersdiamonds_3Here is something you don’t get to see everyday!  Wimmer’s Diamonds posted this very cool photo of rough diamonds on their Instagram page and people seemed to just love it!  As much as we love looking at gorgeous pieces of fine jewelry, it is always great to see how diamonds look naturally — they’re always beautiful no matter what stage they’re in!

blog_alsonjewelers_5Last and certainly not least, we have this piece from Alson Jewelers.  This 3.28ct fancy yellow diamond ring commands attention and adoration.  It was no surprise to us that this piece made the list of top likes, it’s absolutely beautiful!

How do you feel about our top liked pieces on Instagram?  Let us know your favorite in the comment section, we love hearing from you!

October – celebrating the month of TWO birthstones!

By Amanda L. Colborn

Happy birthday to all the October babies out there! October features two very unique and different birthstones.  Tourmaline and Opal, two of the most gorgeous and diverse birthstones make beautiful and vibrant jewelry.  Let’s explore them individually:

Tourmaline

The first October birthstone is tourmaline. It has become a favorite gemstone among jewelry designers, and gem collectors the world over. Since it is available in a wide variety of colors, it is ideally suited to almost anyone’s taste. Tourmaline also is known for displaying several colors in the same gemstone.  These bi-color or tri-color gems are formed in many combinations; gemstones with clear color distinctions are highly prized.  One multi-color variety is known as watermelon tourmaline, and features green, pink, and white colors bands; to resemble its namesake, the gemstone is cut into thin slices having a pink center, white ring, and green edge.  Tourmaline is found in many localities including Brazil, Afghanistan, East Africa, and the USA.

Watermelon Tourmaline

Watermelon Tourmaline

Paraiba Tourmaline ring - Underwood's Jewelers

Underwood’s Jewelers posted this beautiful Paraiba Tourmaline ring on their Instagram.

 

Opal

The name opal derives from the Greek Opallos, meaning “to see a change (of color).”  This October birthstone ranges in color from milky white to black with flashes of yellow, orange, green, red, and blue. An opal’s beauty is the product of contrast between its color play and its background.  Opal is a formation of non-crystalline silica gel that seeped into crevices in the sedimentary strata. Through time and nature’s heating and molding processes, the gel hardened into the form of opals. The opal is composed of particles closely packed in spherical arrangements. When packed together in a regular pattern, a three-dimensional array of spaces are created that give opal its radiance.

Rough White Opal

Rough White Opal

Opal rings - Henne Jewelers

Henne Jewelers posted three different colored Opal rings on their Instagram.

If you’re interested in purchasing jewelry featuring these beautiful gemstones, find a jeweler near you.