For the Love of Amethyst

February is here: the month of love, and a much-loved birthstone, amethyst. Amethyst is purple quartz that exhibits a beautiful blend of violet and red that can be found in every corner of the earth. Recently, Pantone has placed amethyst (and other purple-hued gemstones) in the spotlight by naming UltraViolet the 2018 Pantone Color of the Year.

It has been associated with many myths, legends, religions, and numerous cultures. Some historical accounts say that Saint Valentine had an amethyst ring carved with an image of Cupid. How apropos!

While amethyst is most commonly recognized to be a purple color, the gemstone can actually range from a light pinkish violet to a deep purple that can read more blue or red, depending on the light. Sometimes, amethyst exhibits a growth anomaly called zoning, which appears as bands of color that range from lighter to darker, or even colorless.

All the science and stories behind the amethyst can be fascinating, but many wearers have simply fallen in love with its rich and peaceful purple hues. Below are a few designs by AGS members that display amethyst in all its purple majesty!

 

You don’t have to be born in February or celebrating a sixth wedding anniversary to feel some amoré for amethyst. Ask an AGS-credentialed jeweler near you to help pair you with the perfect purple piece of your own!

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!

6 Jewelry Trends for 2017

By Jennifer Heebner

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!

vivaan-yed345-slice-dia-ruby-drop-earrings-small-copy

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!

setare

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.

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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.

ericacourtney

Mismatched earrings in 18k gold with diamonds from Erica Courtney.

 

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.

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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.

likabehar_lyd-e-101-gdpe-1

Earrings in 24k gold with baroque-shape freshwater pearls and diamonds from Lika Behar Collection.

If you’re loving these 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!

Popping the Question? The AGS Perfect Proposal Toolkit is Here to Help!

Destiny Teardrop Shape HOF

Destiny Teardrop Halo by Hearts On Fire.

February has begun, meaning “romance season” is officially here! If you plan to propose this Valentine’s Day, the American Gem Society is here to make your proposal perfect with our 4th Annual Perfect Proposal Toolkit.

Even better, when you enter our Perfect Proposal Contest, you could win a gift certificate to an American Gem Society member jeweler, worth $1,500!

Beginning today, February 1st, enter the contest by visiting https://www.americangemsociety.org/perfect-proposal-contest, and check out the Perfect Proposal Toolkit.

This Toolkit is a handy guide offering suggestions and inventive recommendations for both traditional and unconventional wedding proposals. The Toolkit provides a simple navigation experience, helping you find exactly what you’re looking for by categorizing and providing tips for romantic, funny, adventurous, “2.0” and simple proposals. There’s even a Perfect Proposal song list to help inspire you or set the stage.

Suna Bros_Rubellite

Rubellite and Diamonds set in Platinum by Suna Brothers.

The Toolkit also offers an easy to use “Find a Jeweler” feature that provides contact information on all American Gem Society certified jewelers throughout the United States.

The Perfect Proposal Toolkit will be live today through Valentine’s Day.

Toolkit users are encouraged to join the conversation and share their Perfect Proposal stories using the hashtag, #ChooseitforLove

We cannot wait to hear from you on TwitterInstagram or Facebook about how your perfect proposal went.

August is Romance Awareness Month!

By Amanda L. Colborn

Even though the American Gem Society is a professional organization dedicated to credentialing jewelers and consumer protection, we understand that one of the biggest reasons people give jewelry is to show their love. And we love…..well, love! So this blog is a celebration of romance, and lucky for us, August is National Romance month.  So we thought we’d take the opportunity to celebrate Romance Awareness Month in all its glory, and hopefully inspire you to remember to add some romance to your life as well.

Ring by Hearts on Fire

Ring by Hearts on Fire

The online dating site, Zoosk, conducted an annual Romance Awareness Survey. From the survey results, it should come as no surprise that 81% of women and 69% of men surveyed, believe that women are more romantic than men.

What MAY surprise you is that Valentine’s Day, at 19%, ranked lower on the romance scale than an anniversary, at 57%, and even a first date which came in at 24%. First impressions really do go a long way!

Jewelry from Supreme Jewelry

Jewelry from Supreme Jewelry

For the singles out there, you’re not alone. Most single people are completely underwhelmed by the amount of romance in their life. 73% of single men and 80% of single women surveyed say they are were unhappy in the romance department.

But couples aren’t completely satisfied either — see! The grass isn’t always greener as 60% of men and 66% of women say that they would not stay in a relationship with a partner they deemed was unromantic or not romantic enough.

So how can you add more romance to your life?

Well, for singles, the good news is that a lot of single people are looking for more romance in their lives. So if you’re considering approaching the lady checking out the produce at the grocery store, or standing behind you in line at the bank; smile and confidently say, “Hello.” Believe it or not, you feel more confident smiling (even on the telephone) than you do with a straight face. You’ll come across happier and don’t be surprised if a few other heads turn as well.

And don’t forget that best first date impression!

For couples, adding a little romance to your everyday life can actually be quite easy.

Romance experts suggest ideas as simple as:

  • A promise ring or other piece of fine jewelry, personalized for your partner
  • A simple compliment goes a long way. Tell your partner something you’ve secretly been admiring about them for a long time.
  • Send a romantic text in the middle of their mundane work day.
  • Plan a staycation! A weekend at home or in a local Bed & Breakfast, just the two of you.
  • Write a letter. Something so old-fashioned and simple can have lasting effects! For inspiration, check out some famous love letters written by well-known idols, click here.
Earrings by Ritani

Earrings by Ritani

Conclusively, Romance Awareness month offers you an opportunity to break from your romance rut and it’s a helpful reminder to show the one you love (even if it’s yourself!) how important adding a little romance to your life can be. Enjoy!

 

Going Gaga for heart shapes!

By Amanda L Colborn

In honor of Lady Gaga’s recent engagement (and her heart-stopping diamond ring), we’re celebrating the heart symbol and the heart cut diamond.

Lady Gaga's engagement ring

Lady Gaga’s engagement ring

Did you know that we can trace the heart symbol all the way back to the Ice Age era?  It’s true. Cave paintings have been discovered with this symbol that trace back to the Ice Age. Though we do not know what this symbol meant to the cavemen who drew them, we do know that it was important enough for them to often paint it on the inside of their cave walls.

Capture

Cave painting from Cro-Magnon era

The mysterious symbol continued to show up throughout history, among several different groups of people and cultures.  For instance, the ancient Romans actually used the symbol on their currency.

Coin from Ancient Rome

Coin from ancient Rome

However, it is important to note that this symbol was not associated with the anatomical heart at all, actually the symbol for the ancient Romans was representative of the silphium plant which was used as a form of birth control in the city-state of Cyrene.

The heart shaped symbol then became a very important aspect in the religion of Christianity.  The Sacred Heart, representing Jesus Christ and his love for the people. With the spread of religion and ideas throughout the Middle Ages, eventually the symbol became a familiarity throughout the world. People began regularly associating the heart symbol with all aspects of love, however, no one is still 100% clear on how the symbol took on its universal meaning of love or why it took on the name “heart” even though it is clearly not shaped like the anatomical heart.

With its origin shrouded in mystery, one this for certain. When you present the woman you love with a heart shaped piece of jewelry, it means only one thing. She is the woman you love and you expressed that without even having to say the words. The shape says it all.

Here are several gorgeous examples of heart shaped jewelry that you can surprise your partner with any time of year!

Heart cut diamond engagement ring with halo from Steve Padis Jewelry

Heart cut diamond engagement ring with halo from Steve Padis Jewelry

 

Fulfillment-Heart-Pendant-1

The Fulfillment Heart Pendant from Hearts On Fire

2.00 carat heart cut diamond ring from Tiffany Co.

2.00 carat heart cut diamond ring from Tiffany Co.

 

Why is Valentine’s Day the most romantic day of the year?

By Amanda L. Colborn

Whether you’re single or coupled up, betrothed or still dating — Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year and not just a “Hallmark holiday” as many people say and assume.

In actuality, Hallmark didn’t even produce its first Valentine’s Day card until the year 1913 – centuries after the declaration of the holiday in 1537.

The origins of Valentine’s Day are shrouded in mystery.  The Catholic church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine.  One legend tells of Valentine as a priest who served during third century Rome. Valentine defied Emperor Claudius II by marrying young lovers in secret after the Emperor outlawed marriage saying it was a distraction to men going into war.

Other stories tell of a St. Valentine who may have been killed for trying to help Christians escape the perils of Roman imprisonment.  A more famous legend eludes to St. Valentine as being the original sender of Valentine’s Day greetings when he fell in love with a young woman who upon his deathbed, wrote her a letter and signed it “From your Valentine,” an expression still very much used today!

Though there are several different stories about the origins of this holiday, they all lead back to celebrating the loving hero that was St. Valentine.

Whichever history you choose to believe, make sure you spread the love to your partner or just treat yourself to something special!

And if you really want to show your significant other how much you love them, you can join the other several million people around the world who will be announcing their engagement on this most romantic of days!  If you plan on popping the question, make sure you check out the American Gem Society’s Perfect Proposal Toolkit for everything from how to choose a ring to how to set up the perfect proposal. And share with us! Tell us your story on social media, be sure to use #AGSProposal!

Have a safe and happy holiday!

A stunning ruby and diamond ring by Suna Bros.

A stunning ruby and diamond ring by Suna Bros.