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.

2015 MTV Video Music Award Trends

By Amanda L. Colborn

Whether you tuned into this year’s VMA’s or not, you’ve probably read more than your fair share of celebrity gossip. But what about that evening really matters?

The jewelry of course!  But don’t worry, we at the American Gem Society take great pride in paying special attention to the jewelry of the rich and famous so you don’t have to.

This year’s Video Music Awards did not disappoint.

Jewelry at the VMA’s is interesting because unlike other award shows, the VMA’s are less glitz and glam and more edgy and fun. This was particularly the case when it came to this year’s jewelry. Lots of new and somewhat surprising trends were seen gracing the red carpet before the event.

One of the most prevalent trends that we noticed was a resurgence in Yellow Gold. At the American Gem Society, we love yellow gold! So of course we are thrilled to see it appearing more and more in today’s fashion. It’s not just on for the red carpet, but for every day wear as well, as seen in the photo below!

Yellow gold pieces from AGS members. Photo courtesy of the AGS Young Titleholders

Yellow gold pieces from AGS members.
Photo courtesy of the AGS Young Titleholders.

Another trend that we saw a lot of on the red carpet were Mix-and-Match Earrings, and also Ear Climbers. Ear climbers are a refreshing take on the every-day stud earring. They literally appear to “climb” up the wearers ear and offer a spectacular eye-catching look.

Ear climber designs by AGS members. Photo courtesy of the AGS Young Titleholders.

Ear climbers from AGS members.
Photo courtesy of the AGS Young Titleholders.

Another look, whether it be on the red carpet or just an extra touch to the perfect date-night outfit, is jewelry with a minimalist design. Minimalist Jewelry adds a touch of sophistication and elegance to every outfit. It is beautiful on its own or paired with different matching pieces. Check out some of the designs below from AGS members featuring this stunning trend.

Rings by KC Designs.

Rings by KC Designs.

Stackable minimalist jewelry designs by Gumuchian.

Stackable minimalist jewelry designs by Gumuchian.

Lastly, a unique trend that we spotted at the VMA’s were cool and edgy Black Diamonds. Be it earrings, rings, or pendants; black diamonds offer a more discrete but equally luxurious look compared to colorless diamonds. They also look amazing when paired with colorless diamonds, as you can see below.

Ring by LeVian.

Ring by LeVian.

Earrings by LeVian.

Earrings by LeVian.

And so we conclude our VMA trend update. Subscribe to the AGS blog for more award show recaps and updated trend posts. If you’re interested in shopping for any of the VMA trends above, please check out our Find A Jeweler tool by clicking: here. Our AGS members are always happy to help you when shopping for your next piece of fine jewelry.

Top 5 Facebook Favorites!

By Amanda L. Colborn

It’s been awhile since the American Gem Society has posted some of our social media favorites, so I thought I’d catch you up on what’s going on with our AGS Facebook page.  The social media favorites are really determined by our followers. These top 5 pieces have garnered the most likes and engagement on Facebook and so that’s how I determined what made this week’s blog.

And let me just say, our followers have exquisite taste!

Here’s a look at what’s been trending on our page this season:

10931217_10152690868996116_8061060639296727566_n

  1. First up is this breathtaking Fire Opal ring from Yael Designs. This ring was posted prior to the JCK Luxury show in Las Vegas, where it made it’s big (literally, it’s big) debut. It didn’t surprise me in the least that this fantastic ring made the top of the social media favorites list, it’s absolutely stunning!
    11146614_10152658229531116_8678820880495802700_n
  2. Next up, we have a sparkling diamond ring from Simon G. which was posted by Kassab Jewelers. What really makes this ring catch your eye, is how the small halo of pink diamonds really amplifies the look of the center stone. The three-strand setting, each ornamented with white diamonds, adds another element of intricate detail to this exquisite ring
  3. 11265404_452514378245473_8971999350149317307_nSuna Bros. called this their ‘Zircon Zinger,’ and honestly, I can’t get enough of that name. The beautiful blue of this stone is enough already, but then they added diamonds to the setting and band which made it absolute perfection!
  4. 1836824_889521897735743_308284906759892129_oFrom LeVian comes the Blueberry Tanzanite® ring (you all really like your rings, huh?).  Who could blame you? We couldn’t resist sharing this piece with you! The color differentiation of the luxurious Tanzanite and diamonds along with the rose gold setting, really make this ring a special treat.11412343_10152710408366116_7172675216593864120_n
  5. While we’re on the topic of luxurious, our next favorite fits the bill perfectly! This Fancy Yellow Kotlar Cushion from Harry Kotlar is true luxury at it’s finest! The Kotlar Cushion is specifically cut to maximize the diamond’s fire. We recommend you not wear this ring while driving, as it is sure to blind you and other drivers. 🙂

There you have the top 5 trends from our AGS Facebook page. Be sure to like our page for more beautiful pieces from our AGS members. If you like seeing a re-cap of our Facebook and other social media trends in the blog, please comment and let us know!

Finally, there is one other post that our Facebook audience really loved.  It isn’t a jewelry piece so I did not include it in the top 5, but it definitely deserves an honorable mention. And so, to finalize this week’s blog, I leave you with this trending quote. Have a great weekend everyone!

11355716_1594358170838204_1463829155_n

 

 

 

From Old to New Again: Jeweler Gives Heirloom Jewelry an Updated Look

By Donna Jolly, RJ

Laura Stanley is like many American Gem Society jewelers: her family has a rich history in the industry. In her case, she is a third generation jeweler. It started with her grandfather, Charles B. Stanley, a watchmaker in downtown North Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1936, he and his wife, Sally, opened a small jewelry store that throughout the years grew, and was passed down to their son, Loyd. Today, his daughter, Laura is a vital force in Stanley Jewelers Gemologist, a family business specializing in fine jewelry and fine service. With such a rich history, it is no wonder that they know a thing or two about heirloom jewelry—and how to give these cherished pieces a beautiful, updated look.

Customizing heirloom jewelry is a growing trend. We asked, Laura, a CGA with the American Gem Society, some questions to learn more about updating these precious family treasures.

Living in an area rich in history, do you see a lot of heirloom jewelry coming in?

I feel like there is interesting and worthy jewelry all around the country. People are very mobile these days.  Jewelry and heirlooms move around!  I have learned to never underestimate what is tucked away in safety deposit boxes in small town America. I’ve seen everything from worn out 150-year old pot metal jewelry to large, impressive diamonds (over 10 carats).

Are there any rules of etiquette a person should consider before they update a piece of heirloom jewelry? For example, if the person who gave them the jewelry is still alive, should they let them know their plan?

Many people are uncomfortable resetting diamonds or gemstones received from a relative who is still alive, even with their permission. However, there are no rules and you should do what is in your comfort zone and makes you happy. And know that once you take apart your vintage piece, there is no going back.

What is one of the most interesting piece you’ve revamped?

A ring we nick-named “Jaws.”  It was a 3-row antique platinum ring, about 1” wide, with two rows of marquise cut diamonds and one row of baguette cut diamonds. We made a wedding band from the baguettes and a bracelet from the marquise cut diamonds. Here’s a picture of the “after” pieces.

braceletringWhat is your top piece of advice for someone who has a piece of heirloom jewelry that they want updated?

Be sure you want to take apart your heirloom, then find an experienced jeweler to help you understand your options and the possibilities of what you have. Also keep your mind open to adding a few diamonds or gemstones to achieve the look you ultimately want. Conversely, be aware that you might not to be able to use every single diamond in grandmother’s brooch or ring. You may have some leftovers.

Does it cost more to update a piece of heirloom jewelry than it would be to buy a new piece of jewelry?

That totally depends upon what you have and what you want. Here’s an example of earrings we made from a beautiful platinum antique diamond watch. A young woman inherited the watch and knew she would never wear it. So for a modest labor fee, we cut these clusters out of the case and she used the leftover platinum and diamonds to help defray costs for the project.

earring

What is more fun for you as the jeweler: creating a new piece of custom jewelry or updating an heirloom piece?

I think they are both thrilling because working with a customer to get exactly what she wants is always fun. It’s one of the best parts of being a professional jeweler!

What are the challenges of working with heirloom jewelry?

Occasionally you have to work around diamonds and gems that have been damaged over the years. Sometimes you can’t tell the extent of the damage until after you take it apart. That’s no fun for anyone, but sometimes it is unavoidable.

Do you find that there is a tug-of-war of emotions for the customer between wanting to keep the heirloom piece in-tact, versus the desire for a new look?

Well, people are funny. Sometimes a client will walk in the door and say, “ I will NEVER wear this. My great aunt was so gaudy! Help me!”

Other times it’s a long process to determine what the right decision is, and if we should even touch it. Sometimes the right answer is to do nothing, expecting that their next generation will want a piece intact.

What other advice do you have for someone looking to update their heirloom jewelry?

Find an AGS jeweler to help. That way, you’ll be in good hands regardless of your needs.

To learn more about Stanley Jewelers Gemologist, visit http://stanleyjewelers.com/. To find an AGS credentialed jeweler in your area who can help you customize and heirloom treasure, visit http://www.americangemsociety.org/find-a-jeweler.

 

 

Your sneak peek into Jewelry Week!

By Amanda L Colborn

May 26 – June 1 is known as “Jewelry Week” this year in Las Vegas, NV. With major trade show events hosted at both Mandalay Bay and the Wynn, you could say that the jewelry industry has taken over the Las Vegas strip.  Many of the exhibitors that have flown to Vegas to showcase their jewelry pieces are none other than American Gem Society members, of course!

We are very excited to give you a behind-the-scenes peek into some of the amazing pieces these designers have brought with them!

SimonGThis first image showcases three stunning pieces from Simon G. Jewelry. Note the incredible sparkle on this bracelet which comes from the well-cut diamonds.

 

HOF_newLoreleiDropEarringsNext we have the NEW Lorelei drop earrings from Hearts On Fire. The design is unique and something new and uncommon to the standard diamond drop earring.

 

KaraRossNYKara Ross posted this image to her Instagram feed earlier this week. The lovely model is showcasing some designs from the new Kara Ross NY collection.

 

EricaCourtneyIf you like diamonds that sparkle, than you’ll love these rings from Erica Courtney Jewelry. WOW!

 

GumuchianGumuchian is proudly displaying pieces from their NEW Stitch collection! This gold pendant is perfect going from day-to-night.

 

sunabrosEverything is coming up roses for Suna Bros. They’re showcasing these stunning rings in addition to many more beautiful pieces!

 

SupremeJewelry_openspacedringsIf you’re feeling fun, you’ll likely love these free-form, open-space rings from Supreme Jewelry just as much as we do.

 

AGGemsAG Gems always has fantastic colored jewelry pieces for any taste or style. They definitely did not disappoint!

 

YaelDesignsYael Designs brought a variety of different pieces to showcase this year. The gorgeous rings were a big fan-favorite!

 

Mastoloni_FlexCuffsLast and certainly not least, the NEW Flex bracelets from the pearl masters, Mastoloni.

And there you have it! Your inside look into 2015 Jewelry Week here in the sunny Las Vegas! We made sure to link all our AGS members featured in this blog to their respective Facebook pages. Please like them on Facebook and follow their new designs. Please also like the American Gem Society on Facebook and continue following our blog for more behind-the-scenes looks into the world of the AGS and the fine jewelry industry!

 

 

Go Retro!

By Amanda L. Colborn

When it comes to jewelry, more and more people are looking to the past for their present jewelry inspiration.  It’s not just about style and fashion, estate jewelry has benefits to both your wallet AND the environment!

But first, what is “estate” jewelry?

Estate jewelry is, in the simplest of terms, jewelry that has been previously owned by someone else.

Is it the same as “antique” jewelry?

Yes and no, estate jewelry is not considered an antique until it is at least 100 years old, according to JewelleryMonthly.com.

So, why would estate jewelry be something for me?

There are several benefits to acquiring previously owned jewelry.  A big reason being that they are back in fashion right now. Vintage has never been more popular, making it easier than ever to find interesting pieces of estate jewelry. People love pieces that hold a story, and the best thing about estate jewelry is that they all have some sort of story, which makes shopping for them that much more fun!

Estate Watch from McTeigue

Estate Watch from McTeigue

Another reason to look into owning an estate piece, most of them are now one-of-a-kind.  Perhaps you have looked into getting a custom piece of jewelry made and were overwhelmed by how much that can cost. Well, look into estate pieces! They are usually much more cost-effective and the likelihood of anyone else having the same matching piece is slim to none.

Estate Pendant Necklace from McTeigue

Estate Pendant Necklace from McTeigue

The best and most important reasons for choosing a piece of estate jewelry is that they are environmentally-friendly and ethical.  Like all new products in our world today, it takes resources to produce and manufacture pieces of fine jewelry. When you buy a piece of estate jewelry, you can rest assured knowing that your purchase has both a beautiful, rich history and you have recycled a piece of jewelry at no cost to our environment.

When you shop with an AGS-credentialed jeweler, you’re already taking the first step towards a jewelry purchase backed with the highest standard of ethics in the industry.  When you purchase a piece of estate jewelry from an AGS-credentialed jeweler, you know you are getting a top-quality piece of jewelry from a jeweler who cares about you, your wallet, and ensuring the overall high standards of ethical behavior within the jewelry industry.

Estate Bracelet from McTeigue

Estate Bracelet from McTeigue

As you can see, there are so many benefits to going retro when it comes to your next jewelry purchase. Take into consideration the history, time period, cost-effectiveness, and environmental & ethical impacts when you consider purchasing your first or next piece of fine jewelry.  Talk to your jeweler and see what your options are. Or, find the right jeweler for you here.  And then go tell your friends to look into estate jewelry as well, so you can share the stories of your beautiful new/old vintage creations!

 

Jewelry designs perfect for Cinco de Mayo!

By Amanda L. Colborn

Are you the kind of person who likes to express your holiday spirit with jewelry? Does the jewelry you wear often reflect the mood and occasion of a party you’re attending?  If you answer yes to either of these, then maybe you’ve been thinking about how you’re going to capture the Cinco de Mayo spirit with your jewelry.

Never fear! The American Gem Society is here to help you accessorize so you can walk into the party not having to wonder, “Is that salsa hotter than my outfit?”

We’ve taken the colors of Cinco de Mayo and paired them with some beautiful jewelry pieces that are ¡Muy Caliente! 

 

First off, what would a fiesta be without a perfect bowl of pico de gallo?

pico de gallo

And, if you didn’t think we could bring out the gorgeous essence of this dish into a piece of jewelry, well, just check out this stunning opal from Spark Creations.

Ring from Spark Creations

Ring from Spark Creations

 

Speaking of food, Cinco de Mayo would be nothing without the traditional chilies of Mexico.

hot-peppers

It’s a rainbow of amazing color and flavor, just like these two stunning rings from Yael Designs.

Ring from Yael Designs

Ring from Yael Designs

yael designs 3

Ring from Yael Designs

 

Now that we have the food portion covered, let’s bring in the drinks! The perfect drink of Cinco de Mayo you ask? A frosty margarita of course!

margarita

Show of your margarita-matched peridot ring from Parlé Jewelry Designs and leave your friends in awe!

Ring from Parlé Jewelry Designs

Ring from Parlé Jewelry Designs

 

Ok, food and drink? Check!

Now onto that outfit of yours. We’re assuming you already have a sombrero, so you’ll need to pull that from your closet and brush off the dust from last year.

sombrero

Many sombreros have a striped fabric trim, like the one pictured here, which inspires us to reach for our most stackable jewelry items.

Bracelets from Hurdles Jewelry

Bracelets from Hurdle’s Jewelry

Rings from Erica Courtney Jewelry

Rings from Erica Courtney Jewelry

 

Your headgear is all set, now onto the rest of your outfit. A perfect, traditional Mexican poncho is  essential for the festive and fun look of Cinco de Mayo.

poncho

Though not all ponchos are alike and they vary in all types of color schemes; we wanted to show you an example of how we pulled colors from this poncho and paired it perfectly with a piece of fine jewelry.

Ring from Suna Bros.

Ring from Suna Bros.

 

And last but certainly not least, it’s time to party! Ready to break that piñata?

pinata

In the spirit of the perfect piñata, we found the perfect pair of earrings to match. Just make sure the kids remember to go after the piñata and not your ears!

Earrings from Yael Designs

Earrings from Yael Designs

Now that we’ve covered all the bases for the perfect Cinco de Mayo celebration, we hope we have inspired you (and your outfit) to find the fun in accessorizing! Have a happy and safe holiday!