Four Holiday Shopping Tips

Trying on ring at jewelry store

Tips on Buying Jewelry This Holiday Season

With the holiday shopping season here, the American Gem Society (AGS) has been receiving questions from shoppers seeking jewelry buying tips and secrets. We thought we would answer a few of our most frequently asked questions to help ease the pressure off this hectic season.

“How do I know if I’m getting a good deal?”

Trust your jeweler. Do your research, read reviews of their store, ask friends and shop with a credentialed jeweler. We take great efforts to vet all of our members, to make sure that they continue their gemological education and that they adhere to the AGS standards of ethics and integrity.

Click here to learn more about the importance of shopping with a credentialed AGS jeweler.

To find an AGS member jeweler near you, visit americangemsociety.org/findajeweler.

“Before I buy gems that have been altered to enhance their appearance, is there anything I need to know?”

Make sure that the piece comes with the proper disclosures and that you understand how to care for the gemstones. Ask your jeweler if the treatments are permanent. For example, fracture-filled diamonds can have their filling damaged by an ultrasonic cleaner or steam cleaning. Some irradiated stones are susceptible to color change with high heats such as that from a jeweler’s torch.

“What advice do you have when shopping for diamonds?”

Ask for a diamond that comes with an independent diamond grading report, specifically, an AGS Laboratories diamond grading report. AGS Laboratories is a nonprofit lab created with a mission of consumer protection.

A diamond grading report from AGS Laboratories offers a simple, straightforward, and intuitive 0-10 scale and provides all the information you need to be comfortable with your diamond-buying decision.  Visit americangemsociety.org/agsdiamondgrading to learn more.

“When should I get an appraisal?” 

There are different kinds of appraisals for different purposes. The most common reason for an appraisal is to obtain insurance to ensure a replacement of equal quality and value in the event of damage or loss.

For this purpose, either an Insurance Replacement Appraisal or Statement of Replacement Cost should be requested. The Insurance Replacement Appraisal represents the retail replacement cost with a comparable item.

The Statement of Replacement Cost is provided by the actual seller of the item of jewelry and will report the actual selling price based on the normal selling price of that item in that particular store. In general, you want to get your appraisal updated every two years, or if you have a significant life change, like a change of address. Of course, the best reason to get an appraisal is if the piece has significant meaning to you.

To find an AGS-credentialed appraiser near you, visit americangemsociety.org/findanappraiser.

If you have more questions, you can reach out to any AGS member jeweler or AGS-credentialed appraiser, and they’ll be happy to assist you. The American Gem Society wishes you a very happy holiday season, full of sparkle and wonderful surprises!

Teardrops of the Moon: Pearls in Legends…and Trends

Ancient Japanese legends told stories of mermaids and nymphs crying tears of pearls. When the Greek gods wept, they shed pearls. Even the moon allegedly shed tears of well…you know.

There are many myths pearls, and not all tales involve crying.

Early Chinese civilization believed that dragons carried pearls between their teeth. If you were brave enough to slay a dragon and claim a pearl, it was a symbol of wisdom. In Hindu folklore, dewdrops fell from the moon into the sea, turned into pearls, and Krishna picked one out of the water as a gift for his daughter on her wedding day.

Being the subject of many legends, pearls, as you can imagine, were highly coveted. They were also extremely rare in nature. During the Byzantine Empire, only the emperor was allowed to wear pearls. The ancient Egyptians loved them so much, they were buried with them. And Tudor England was nicknamed the Pearl Age because of the gem’s popularity with the sixteenth-century upper class. The next time you are in a museum looking at Renaissance art, notice the many portraits of the royals wearing pearls.

In more modern times, they became the Art Deco centerpiece for flappers and fashionistas. Ladies who lunch wore them with their white gloves. Pearls during the day, diamonds at night, and never the two shall meet.

And now? Today’s pearls are more often than not cultured. Honora, one of the premier pearl designers, refers to them as “affordable luxury.”

If pearls are the gem of legends, then this watch from Honora is legendary. We love the contrast of the leather wristband and the halo of pearls around the watch dial.

Pearl watch

One more from Honora: this classic strand of white pearls is timeless and versatile. Wear it with a blouse and jeans or a dress to work. It’s perfect for either and will make you feel like royalty.

strand of pearls

Thankfully, these drop earrings from Breuning ignored the memo that diamonds and pearls don’t go together. Try telling that to these rebellious diamond, pearl, and pink sapphire jewels.

diamonds_pearls_pink sapphires

Last, but certainly not least, are these pairs of thoroughly modern fringe earrings from Mastoloni Pearls, featuring both black and white pearls.

Diamond Pearl Fringe Earrings

If you are looking to mix up your jewelry arsenal, give pearls a whirl. Seriously, find some pearls you will love and enjoy them for years to come. Click here to find a jeweler who can help you find the perfect piece.

Emeralds and Diamonds: the perfect pair

By Donna Jolly, RJ

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.

Pear Shaped emeralds and Marquite diamonds

Yael Designs is known for creating crazy beautiful colorful jewelry. Here, they show us some marquis magic, blending yellow and white diamonds with emeralds.

Emerald and and diamonds

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?

Emerald and Diamond Chandelier Earrings

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.

Looking at Diamonds in a Different Light

Diamonds have been celebrated for centuries as a symbol of love and status and have been revered throughout the centuries. No wonder there are literally volumes of references to diamonds in fiction and historical tomes.

Though April is in our rearview mirror, we just can’t quite let go of our favorite gem, and in thinking about our obsession, three thoughts struck us that show how special diamonds really are:

Diamonds are the result of both nature and man. They come from the earth, but diamond cutters, who are skilled artisans, turn diamond rough into beautiful works of art.

Case in point: this masterpiece from Forevermark.

solitaire

Diamonds and plants both need light. Plants need light to live. In a way, so do diamonds. The way light travels through a diamond creates sparkle. A well-cut diamond will have more sparkle than one that is poorly cut. Gemologists often refer to this sparkle as “life.”

A well-cut diamond shimmers with life; that because of the light being returned to the eye! Did you know that cut affects the value of a diamond by as much as 50%? A well-cut diamond will appear larger than one of similar size that is not as finely cut.

This well-cut beauty from Carizza also doubles as a show-stopper!

emerald cut

Diamonds can be a symbol of love, status and even purity . . . they are also a symbol of strength: A diamond forms under tremendous heat and pressure, just like human character! It takes billions of years to form a diamond, and while humans don’t have that luxury of forever, we grow and learn from life’s challenges. It’s no wonder that people celebrate their special moments with diamonds. Diamonds are also the most durable of gems, and measure 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness.

Star Gems demonstrates that while a diamond may be tough, the right design can be soft and downright feminine.

marquis

Ask your American Gem Society jeweler to help you find the perfect diamond. Remember, something as rare and precious as a diamond deserves a report from a well-respected diamond grading laboratory. Ask for one from AGS Laboratories, a nonprofit diamond lab created with the AGS mission of consumer protection and the highest standards of grading. Search for an American Gem Society jeweler near you by clicking here.

April Birthstone: Diamond

By Anna Samsonova, CGA, Ben Bridge Jewelers

“Diamonds ARE a girl’s best friend,” especially if you were born in April!

Since the beginning of time, diamonds have been associated with strength, love and purity. They are symbols of eternal love and great status. Many of us know of famous diamonds and their stories, from the infamous Hope Diamond to the Koh-i-Noor Diamond (both diamonds reputedly hold a curse to those who own or wear them).  Most people think of diamonds as clear gemstones, and they can indeed be quite clear, but diamonds can also be quite colorful. Diamond colors range from blue and green, to red and purple, and even black.  There is a diamond color to match any outfit a person wears.  Learn more about the April birthstone here!

The name diamond comes from the Greek “Adamas,” meaning “invincible” or “unconquerable” and it is one of the oldest substances on earth. Diamonds are the hardest mineral in existence and have many uses industrially, like cutting, polishing and sawing other substances.

No two diamonds are alike, just like fingerprints and snowflakes. What makes your diamond so unique is its different characteristics (also known as the 4Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat). Learn about all of the 4Cs here!

Clarity refers to the inclusions in a diamond, which is what makes some of them particularly unique and identifiable. The inclusions can form shapes, which your imagination may interpret as anything from a heart to a hummingbird. Diamond facets can act like mirrors in a fun house and can reflect inclusions like a kaleidoscope. My favorite diamond inclusions can even host other stones such as garnets. According to the zodiac, April babies are as unique as the birthstone which represents them!

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Extraordinary Diamond Split Shank and Gallery Engagement Ring
by Precision Set Fine Jewelry Works.

Kunzite: pretty in pink

This stunning ring from Omi Prive has been getting a lot of attention on our Facebook page this month. It’s a kunzite and sapphire ring; a combination that is gorgeous!  We love the unique design and the use of kunzite as the center stone.

 

Omi

 

Some interesting facts about kunzite:

  • It’s a bit of a newbie in the gemstone world: this pretty gemstone has only been known for about 100 years.
  • In 2014, Pantone named “Radiant Orchid” its Pantone Color of the Year, and it helped give a second renaissance to kunzite. “Radiant orchid” is a great way to describe this beautiful gem that ranges from pink to violet.
  • Whether the kunzite is natural or enhanced through treatments, the color can fade when exposed to certain elements, namely heat and intense light. To be safe, store your kunzite jewelry in a jewelry box or case when it’s not being worn.

Ask your American Gem Society Jeweler about kunzite. Need a trusted jeweler? Find one here.

Tips from Jewelers Mutual: Popular Engagement Rings to Make Your Holiday Proposal Perfect

Are you planning to make one of your holiday gifts an engagement ring? With all the excitement and holiday hubbub, where do you begin?

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company has compiled a wonderful list of what to look for, based on latest trends, hottest colors and alternative alloys. But keep in mind, it’s most important to be conscious of what your beloved most desires.

Learn more by reading their blog, Popular Engagement Rings to Make Your Holiday Proposal Perfect.