Sleighbells ring, are you listening? December’s birthstone, pretty and glistening A beautiful sight Blue tanzanite Sparkling in a winter wonderland
Tanzanite is the primary birthstone for December, along with zircon and turquoise. Found only in Tanzania, it is also the gemstone for a 24th wedding anniversary. If you’ve made it to 24 years of marriage, you definitely deserve the gift of tanzanite!
If it’s not your birthstone or an anniversary gift, tanzanite still makes a perfect present for the holidays. Being blue never looked so good.
“Empress” bi-color tanzanite bracelet, by Coffin & Trout Fine Jewellers
Tanzanite and diamond “Burst” ring, by NEI Group.
Tanzanite and diamond earrings, by Yael Designs.
“Fireball” tanzanite, freshwater pearl, and diamond necklace, by Mastoloni.
“Interlace” bi-color tanzanite ring, by Coffin & Trout Fine Jewellers.
There are several varieties of gemstones that display optical phenomena, which describes the many ways light interacts with the structural features or inclusions (internal characteristics) in the gemstone. Often these gemstones will be fashioned in a particular way that best displays these effects.
The science of optical phenomena can be fascinating, although the mystery and allure of these effects are what initially attract us! Below are six of the most familiar (and magical) displays of optical phenomena in gemstones.
Play-of-color is created by a combination of diffraction and interference, and is the result of the microstructure of opal: the chameleon of a thousand colors and October’s birthstone!
Opals are made up of many layers of small, stacked spheres of silica. These spheres diffract light, splitting it into a spectrum of colors. The layers of these spheres create interference allowing certain colors to dominate, depending on the angle the opal is viewed.
Opal and tsavorite ring, by ASBA USA, Inc.
Black opal and diamond earrings, by Dilamani.
Australian opal and diamond pendant, by Parlé Gems.
Asterism, or stars, relates to the four- or six-rayed star pattern of light produced by the fibrous inclusions, elongated needles, or growth tubes in a gemstone. This singular, celestial-like phenomenon is best seen in a gemstone cut en cabochon.
Purple star sapphire, pin sapphire, and diamond ring, by Omi Privé.
Star sapphire, blue and yellow sapphire, and diamond brooch, by Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry.
Ruby and star sapphire halo ring, by Fine Jewels of NYC.
Chatoyancy [sha-TOY-an-cee] is also known as “cat’s eye.” Fine needle-like or fibrous inclusions within the gemstone are what causes this effect. Again, stones fashioned as cabochons display this effect the best.
Cat’s Eye indicolite tourmaline and rubellite ring by AG Gems.
Chrysoberyl cat’s eye ring, from Gleim the Jeweler Estate Collection.
Tiger Eye and diamond ring displaying chatoyancy by NEI Group
A small number of gemstones display the color change optical phenomena. Depending on the lighting environment, the color change appearance can vary due to the shifting wavelengths. The technical term for this is photochromism or photochroism; “color-change” is a lot easier to say!
The best-known color changing gemstone is alexandrite. When viewed in sunlight, it appears greenish. When placed under incandescent light, it appears reddish. Other varieties of color-changing gemstones include sapphire, garnet, spinel, diaspore, and tourmaline.
Alexandrite and diamond ring, by AG Gems.
Alexandrite and diamond ring, by TAKAT.
Alexandrite and diamond ring, by JupiterGem.
Adularescence is the phenomenon typically seen in moonstone, which is a member of the feldspar family. It produces a billowy soft blue to milky white light that appears to move across the gemstone. This occurs when light hits the alternating layers of albite and orthoclase, which are two differing forms of feldspar within the gem.
The layers of feldspar interfere with the light rays causing them to scatter and the eye to observe adularescence. The effect is best seen when the gemstone is cut en cabochon [en CAB-ah-shawn]—that is, with a polished, domed top and a flat or slightly rounded base.
Moonstone and diamond baguette ring, by Lika Behar Collection.
Moonstone, aquamarine, and diamond pendant, by Omi Privé.
Blue zircon and moonstone drops earrings, by Yael Designs.
Labradorscence [lab-ra-dor-es-cence] is an optical characteristic often seen in labradorite. The effect is a spectacular play-of-color that is metallic or iridescent, displaying blue, green, red, orange, and yellow. This is an interference effect within the gemstone caused by internal structures that selectively reflect only certain colors.
Oval shaped labradorite ring with diamond accents, by Tacori.
Labradorite and diamond pendant necklace, by NEI Group.
Labradorite, moonstone, and diamond earrings, by Lika Behar Collection.
When it comes to color, October birthstones give you some amazing choices. Whether you choose opal or tourmaline, you’ll get a display of exciting and intense colors, making them popular choices for jewelry designers and collectors.
The name “opal” derives from the Greek opallos, meaning “to see a change (of color).” They 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 is created that gives opal its radiance.
Approximately 90 percent of the world’s precious opal comes from Australia. The following are other countries that produce precious or fancy varieties: Brazil, Mexico, United States, Hungary, Peru, Indonesia, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Ethiopia.
Each opal is totally unique, like fingerprints!! To get a really good look at the opals in these designs, click on the images below for a larger view.
Blue-green black opal and diamond bracelet, by Lightning Ridge Collection.
White opal, aquamarine, and diamond pendant, by Yael Designs.
Australian black opal and diamond ring, by Parlé Gems.
Opal, blue sapphire, and diamond vintage-inspired earrings, by Beverley K.
Since tourmaline is available in a wide variety of colors, it is ideally suited to almost anyone’s taste. It is known for displaying several colors in the same gemstone. These bi-color or tri-color gems are formed in many combinations; the gemstones with clear color distinctions are highly prized.
Tourmaline is found in many localities including Brazil, Afghanistan, East Africa, and the USA.
The following designs feature the varying hues of tourmaline. Click on the images to see a larger view.
Cuprian elbaite tourmaline and diamond ring, by Omi Privé.
Brazilian blue tourmaline and diamond ring, by AG Gems.
Tourmaline and diamond flower pendant, by Atlantic Diamond Company.
The American Independence Day—or the Fourth of July—is when we celebrate our country’s freedom and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. It’s also considered the height of summer!
It’s a time for family reunions, barbeques, picnics, parades, and the much-anticipated fireworks displays. On this day, we proudly display our nation’s colors: red, white, and blue.
Fun Fact: More than 14,000 firework displays are put on across the country on the Fourth of July!
But don’t let those fireworks grab all the attention. Create your own sparkle-fest with three gemstones that will beautify your patriotic style. We’re talking about rubies, white diamonds, and blue sapphires!
In honor of the holiday, we’ve picked a few designs by our American Gem Society members that feature one of the three, aforementioned gemstones. Click on each image below to get a closer look.
Ruby and diamond necklace, by Armadani.
Mozambique ruby with heart-shaped diamonds and micropavé, by Takat.
Ruby and diamond leaf earrings, by Fana.
North Star drop diamond earrings, by NEI Group.
Illa Comet Pendant, by Hearts On Fire.
Round diamond engagement ring, by Imagine Bridal.
Blue sapphire and diamond “Kara” bracelet, by Yael Designs.
Blue sapphire “Lecircque” ring, by Shah Luxury.
Cushion-cut blue sapphire and diamond dangle earrings, by Uneek Fine Jewelry.
May your Fourth of July celebration be sensational, safe, and full of sparkle! To find an AGS-credentialed jeweler near you, visit http://www.ags.org/findajeweler.
“O, the month of May, the merry month of May, So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green!” – Thomas Dekker, Author, (c. 1572–1632).
May is truly the month that really feels like spring, and what better gemstone to have as the birthstone of this blossoming month than an emerald?
Oval emerald studs with diamond double halo, by Uneek Fine Jewelry.
Pear-cut emerald and diamond earrings, by Nash James.
There’s no other stone that can match the lush, vibrant greens of emerald, truly a springtime favorite. In fact, some people believe the emerald symbolizes renewal and goodness, and that it is a stone that will increase a couple’s love for each other.
The color of lovely springtime emerald can vary in all hues of green, sometimes with a tinge of yellow and others leaning towards the blue-greens. These stones can be light and airy, or deep and dark, and everything in between.
Pear shape emerald and diamond ring, by Takat.
Wedding band featuring round emeralds and emerald-cut diamonds, by JB Star.
Not only that, but it can be highly saturated with this earthy color, making it bright and energetic, just like this time of year.
Emeralds have been prized gems throughout history. Egyptians used the stones for many purposes and claimed a magic slab of the gemstone had “all knowledge” engraved on it. In India, there’s a myth that tells of a firefly that crystallized into an emerald. The Aztecs likened the beautiful color to the plumes of god-like birds.
Those of you who own an emerald (or desire to have one!) are in good company; emeralds were Cleopatra’s favorite gemstone.
Emerald and diamond necklace, by Yael Designs.
Cabochon emeralds accented by diamonds, by AG Gems.
Emeralds are to be worn with care since they are a softer gemstone than others. But with proper treatment, these stones will last a lifetime.
Emeralds are mined in many locations around the world, from the famous mines in Colombia to the newer mines in Zambia, to others. The finest Colombian emeralds are delightfully bluish-green, richly saturated and stunningly clear.
This spring, while we watch the flowers bloom and the trees sprout, don’t forget your May babies—or their beautiful birthstone, emerald!
Jewelry images by credentialed AGS members. Visit ags.org/findajeweler to find an AGS jeweler near you.
Isabelle Corvin is an AGS Certified Gemologist (CG) who is the Staff Gemologist at Panowicz Jewelers. Since she was 14-years-old, she knew she wanted to be a gemologist. Ms. Corvin also writes for Panowicz Jewelers’ blog.
Historically speaking, March is an unusual month. It’s a time of transition, from winter blues to the summertime blue of swimming pools. It’s a windy month, too, and the weather can be fickle as one day is cold and the next is warm. It’s supposed to be the first month of spring, but sometimes it feels like the final month of winter.
Even literature has a conflicted relationship with the month. Shakespeare warned Caesar to “Beware the ides of March” in his eponymous play, “Julius Caesar.”
Despite the ups and downs of March, there is one bright, shining and beautiful factor. Aquamarine.
It’s a word which evokes the sea.
Beautiful aquamarine gems. Courtesy of Suna Bros.
Aquamarine is most often light in tone and ranges from greenish blue to blue-green; the color usually is more intense in larger stones, and darker blue stones are very valuable. This gemstone is mined mainly in Brazil but also is found in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique.
Aquamarine and diamond ring from Suna Bros.
Like emeralds, this gemstone is a variety of a mineral called beryl. Large stones have been found all over the world, including one stone found in Brazil that weighed over 240 pounds. Aquamarine grows in large, six-sided crystals that can be up to a foot long, making it a great gem to be cut and polished in larger carats for statement pieces.
Not only is aquamarine one of the March birthstones, it’s also used to celebrate 19th wedding anniversaries. It’s a beautiful stone with little or no yellow in it, so it looks great in many settings with different colored metals and gemstones.
Opal pendant surrounded by aquamarine and diamonds. From Yael Designs.
First, visit an AGS jeweler, who will be happy to help you pick out the perfect piece. Next, look at the stone’s cut. Since aquamarine can be very lightly colored (and sometimes appear almost colorless), the cut is very important to the overall appearance of the stone and how saturated, or even, the color appears.
Of course, choose the color that most appeals to you, however, it’s generally accepted that lighter colored aquamarines are less valuable than the stronger, deeper hues of blue or blue-green.
Aquamarine and diamonds in a gold setting. From Erica Courtney Jewelry
Next, take a look at the stone’s clarity. Most cut gems do not have inclusions that are visible to the eye, and some rarer or more expensive aquamarines are available without visible inclusions, as well.
Since aquamarine crystals can grow to be quite large, larger cut gemstones are possible to purchase as a part of beautiful statement pieces. While you may not be looking to buy in that range, even smaller aquamarines make for lovely solitaires or companion jewels in larger pieces.
Ready to see aquamarine up-close and in person? Find an AGS Jewler here. Just don’t forget to bring your jacket. . . or not. It’s March, after all. Who knows what the weather will be like?
Pear shape tanzanite and diamond ring by United Color Gems.
We often come across a gemstone that inspires us to learn more about its origins and history, as we search out jewelry designs that feature it. Today’s blog spotlights the alternative birthstone for a month other than this one, December. We’re referring to 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.
Zoisite had been around more than a century and a half before this rare blue variety was found in 1967. Trace amounts of vanadium, mixed with extreme heat, cause the blue color – which ranges from pale blue to intense ultramarine with violet undertones.
Due to pleochroism—an optical phenomenon in which a substance displays different colors when seen from different angles—tanzanite 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.
Tanzanite is still only found on a few square miles of land in Tanzania, near majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. Its price and availability are directly tied to mines in this region.
Between its deep blue color and its limited supply, tanzanite is treasured by many—whether you happen to be born in December or not!
A 78ct tanzanite pendant by TAKAT.
“Ohrid” tanzanite and diamond earrings by Yael Designs.
Tanzanite carved ring by Goshwara.
White and rose gold pendant by Simon G. Jewelry featuring tanzanite.
Trillion-cut tanzanite and diamond earrings by AG Gems.
The “Coco Ring” by Erica Courtney features tanzanite accented with diamonds.
It’s been a year since spinel was added to August’s birthstone line up. Those celebrating a birthday during the eighth calendar month now have three gemstone choices: peridot, sardonyx, and spinel.
Blue spinel by Gem 2000.
For those who are still unfamiliar with spinel, it is often assumed to be other gemstones, like ruby or sapphire. Cobalt blue, like the one above, is one of the most desired colors. But it can be found in a variety of colors, such as the much coveted red, as well as black, violet blue, greenish blue, grayish, pale pink, mauve, yellow or brown. Spinel can also be found in various cuts, like octagons, trillions, squares, rounds and fancy shapes, like ovals, pears, and cushions.
No matter what the shape, spinel is spectacular! Take a look at these designs by our AGS members. Click on the images for a closer view.
The Kalmia bracelet by Yael Designs features opal cabochons accented with pink spinel.
Affinity bracelet by Coffin & Trout Fine Jewellers, featuring multi-colored spinel and round brilliant cut diamonds.
Emerald cut purple spinel, pink and white diamond ring by Omi Prive.
Peridot by Gem 2000.
The verdant peridot is the gemstone most commonly associated with August. Peridot’s recognizable green hue could sometimes vary from yellowish-green to olive to brownish green, contingent on how much iron is present. Yet the finest peridot is a brilliant green without any hints of brown or yellow.
Our AGS members will help you find the perfect peridot for you! Click on the images for a closer view.
Hand-hammered Fiddlehead earrings by Ed Levin Jewelry featuring peridot in the center.
Peridot and sterling sliver ring by Michael Schofield & Co.
Oval checkerboard peridot and diamond neck piece by Parle.
Since as far back as Roman times, sardonyx has been highly valued as a stone representing strength, courage, happiness, and clear communication.
The unique reddish, zebra-striped banding of sardonyx stands out beautifully when the stone is smoothed, so it is often cut in cabochon and worn as beads or featured in an eye-catching pendant or ring.
Sardonyx makes a great gift for those born in August who want something a little different than the traditional birthstone. Readily available and relatively inexpensive, sardonyx makes an affordable addition to anyone’s collection.
When you roam the hallways of the American Gem Society, it’s not unusual to see members of the team staring at images of gorgeous jewelry on their desktop. We work in this industry because we are fans of shiny, pretty things! As jewelry lovers, we can be a little fickle, month to month, as to what our favorite gemstone is.
Yes, we love diamonds. Quite a lot.
Turns out, we love May’s birthstone quite a lot, too: the emerald.
Pair an emerald and a diamond together, and we pretty much have a hard time finding the words to describe how over-the-top in love we are with that striking combination.
But let’s try. And in the process, we’ll show you some of our favorite pieces of emerald and diamond jewelry.
First, a little history on the emerald. This beautiful gemstone was mined in Egypt as early as 330 BC, but some estimate that the oldest emeralds are 2.97 billion years old. Cleopatra had a thing for emeralds. She even claimed ownership of all emerald mines in Egypt during her reign. If the queen could be around today, she would no doubt attempt to expand her reach of this green gift from the earth.
Emeralds, like diamonds, are analyzed according to the 4Cs: color, cut, clarity and carat weight. Rare emeralds are a deep green-blue, while lighter colored gems are more common—and a good choice for those looking for a more affordable alternative.
Now for the good stuff: take a look at this stunning pendant below from JB Star. Marquis shaped emeralds and diamonds surround a square-cut center diamond for a green and white starburst.
Yael Designs is known for creating crazy beautiful colorful jewelry. Here, they show us some marquis magic, blending yellow and white diamonds with emeralds.
Supreme Jewelry created this gorgeous pair of diamond chandelier earrings featuring tear-drop shaped emeralds. There is quite a lot to love here. Especially the intricate yet delicate design. Try to imagine this design with another gem in it other than emerald. Would it have the same level of vibrancy?
Jewelry can represent different things: symbols of love and success, a cause for celebration, a little something extra to make you feel good. If you are in search of fine jewelry, whether it’s an emerald, diamond or another gemstone, shop with a jeweler you trust. It’s step number one in the jewelry-buying process. Find a professional, trusted American Gem Society jeweler here. To learn more about emeralds and diamonds, click here.
If you haven’t already, be sure to mark your calendar for this Sunday, February 26, so you don’t miss the 89th Academy Awards! Millions of film and fashion fans will be tuning into ABC at 7:00 p.m. EST/4:00 p.m. PST when the stars begin to walk the red carpet.
What will this year’s fab fashions be? Here’s a list of five trends that are predicted to be “scene” on the stars. We’ve included a few designs from AGS members that we think would best complement these lovely looks.
Flowers and Nature
Floral designs never seem to go out of style and with spring just around the corner, what better place to display some flower power than at the Oscars! They can either be classic and demure or big, bold, and bright! With the growing trend of floral patterns, other nods to nature are sure to follow. Animals, birds, and leafy plants are leaving a trail on this season’s designs.
Sapphire, white and brown diamonds flower ring by Supreme Jewelry.
Flexible diamond tiger cuff by Roberto Coin.
Cobra drop earrings with diamonds by John Hardy.
Here’s a hue that has been popular of late. When it comes to pink gemstones, we can choose from pink diamonds, pink sapphire, Morganite, kunzite, and rose quartz, to name a few! Which gal—or guy—will be thinking pink on the red carpet?
Fancy light purplish pink heart shape diamond necklace by Scott West Diamonds.
Fancy pink diamond ring by Jeffrey Daniels Unique Designs.
Pink sapphire flower cluster diamond earrings and pendant by Whiteflash.
The elegant drape of a one-shoulder dress or top embodies a mix of sophistication and sultriness. An ensemble like this should be punctuated by some serious sparkle!
Diamond Angel Feather ring by KC Designs.
The Helen necklace by Harry Kotlar.
White Kites Bird long earrings by HOF X Stephen Webster.
Reminiscent of old Hollywood, satin is one of the biggest trends this spring. Expect to see the silky-smooth and shimmering fabric in bright jewel tones. Enhance the look with gorgeous jewels like these!
Trillion cut Tanzanite and diamond earrings by AG Gems.
A two-tone gold necklace featuring rose-cut emeralds and diamonds by Yael Designs.
Paraiba tourmaline and diamond ring by Takat.
Gone are the days of drab black and gray. Enter the brilliant and daring blocks of color! Bold and beautiful gemstones make these jewelry designs absolute showstoppers.
“Amazon” pendant featuring peridot accented by purple garnet and diamonds by Erica Courtney.
“Gossip” emerald cut citrine earrings with diamonds by Goshwara.
Rhodolite and spessartite garnet ring by Omi Prive.
Shopping for fine jewelry should be just as exciting as the Oscars but without unwelcome surprises. American Gem Society (AGS) credentialed jewelers adhere to standards that not only comply with governing laws, but that go beyond, to ensure that you are buying from jewelers who have the knowledge and skill to help you make the most informed buying decision. To find an AGS jeweler near you, click here, and leave the nail-biting uncertainty for the Oscars!