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.

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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.

Tips from Jewelers Mutual: End-of-Summer Jewelry To-Do List

Sunscreen, chlorine, and travel are the quintessential elements of summer that put fine jewelry at risk. But now that the sun is setting on summer, it’s time to give your precious gems and metals some extra attention.

Learn more in this blog by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, 5 End-of-Summer Jewelry Care Tips to Keep Your Sparklers Shining.

The Benefits of Jewelry Appraisals

By Phillip Bosen, CGA and Director of Business Development at Von Bargen’s Jewelry

A critical step in protecting and preserving the value of your jewelry is getting an updated appraisal on a regular basis. In fact, if the most recent appraisal of your jewelry took place five or more years ago, it’s time to get a new appraisal.

You may be asking what a jewelry appraisal does for you. The obvious answer is that an appraisal sets a value for your jewelry. And with today’s roller-coaster values for gold, platinum, silver and gemstones, knowing what your jewelry is worth can save you heartache later if your jewelry is lost or stolen.

The appraisal provides basic information most insurance carriers need to offer coverage for your jewelry. The updated value, along with the detailed description provided by an appraisal, will help smooth your settlement process if you were to suffer a loss.

Another appraisal benefit is having an updated assessment of your jewelry’s condition. Over time, prongs, clasps, settings and even stones can become loose or damaged. The review of your jewelry by a professional can help mitigate a possible loss by drawing to your attention any minor damage so an item can be repaired.

Now that I’ve convinced you to get an appraisal, who should you go to and what should it contain? The first choice for your appraisal should be a jeweler you trust. They should have the credentials necessary to do an appraisal, such as a Certified Gemologist Appraiser (CGA) from the American Gem Society, and/or be a member of one of the appraisal societies that dictate ethical appraisal practices. You may already have a grading report from AGS or another lab. These reports are used to verify the quality and authenticity of gemstones or diamonds, but do not establish value.

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Your jewelry appraisal should contain:

  • Your name and address
  • Type of jewelry
  • What is the jewelry item made of?
  • What type of gemstones are used?
  • How are the stones graded?
  • How is it designed or fashioned?
  • Condition of the item being appraised
  • Color photograph
  • Current precious metal values
  • Manufacturer, origin, or designer
  • Purpose of the appraisal (example: for insurance purposes)
  • Credentials of the appraiser
  • Signed and dated by the appraiser

Phillip Bosen is the Director of Business Development at Von Bargen’s Jewelry and the only Certified Gemologist Appraiser in Vermont.

To find a CGA or ICGA in your area, click here.

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Happy Birthday April! It’s your time to shine!

By Amanda L Colborn

At the American Gem Society and especially in AGS Laboratories, we look forward to April all year long!  With the diamond being April’s birthstone, it’s yet another opportunity to celebrate our favorite things: bright, shiny diamonds!

Don’t get us wrong, all other months and their birthstones are just as special! However, being part of an organization that offers you the highest quality diamond grading reports…we do have a special soft spot for diamonds.

A gorgeous 7 carat, cushion cut from Alson Jewelers.

A gorgeous 7 carat, cushion cut from Alson Jewelers.

History of the Diamond as the April Birthstone

Diamonds are a thing of beauty and the ultimate gift for a loved one. Thought to be one of the hardest substances on the globe, diamonds date back billions of years. The diamond is the traditional birthstone of April and holds significant meaning for those born in that month, thought to provide the wearer with better relationships and an increase in inner strength. Wearing diamonds is purported to bring other benefits such as balance, clarity and abundance.  It’s also symbolic of eternal love, and those fortunate to call April the month of their birth will enjoy the following history behind this rare gem.

Diamond engagement rings by Suna Bros.

Diamond engagement rings by Suna Bros.

Diamond Gemstones

Adopted from the Greek work “adamas,” meaning invincible, diamonds come in a wide range of colors such as black, blue, green, pink, red, purple, orange and yellow. The color is dependent upon the type of impurities that are present in the stone. Yellow stones have minuscule traces of nitrogen while blue ones contain boron.

A stunning pear shape diamond from Philip's Diamond Shop.

A stunning pear shape diamond from Philip’s Diamond Shop.

The History and Beliefs Surrounding the Diamond

As told through the Encarta, Sanskrit texts dating back before 400 B.C. found that people associated significant value and wonderment with crystals. There is also significant research that dates back to the 1330s showing diamond cutting in Venice. The diamond trading business flourished towards the 15th century with the opening of Eastern trade routes. Ancient theories touting the magical powers of diamonds were prevalent: some thought lightning bolts formed diamonds, while other theories asserted that diamonds were the tears of god.

Engagement rings by Ritani.

Engagement rings by Ritani.

The Healing Power of Diamonds

During the Middle Ages, diamonds were thought to hold healing powers and to cure ailments stemming from the pituitary gland and brain. By heating the crystal and taking it to bed, it was thought to draw out the harmful toxins that were crippling the body. It was believed that diamonds could also have an effect on an individual’s balance and clarity and could boost their energy when combined with other crystals like amethyst.

The diamond as the April gemstone has garnered the hearts of many and is the most coveted crystal to date. Deemed as the King of all birthstones, diamonds make the ideal choice for an April birthday gift. She’ll love you for it! Find a trusted diamond jeweler near you.

 

How To Choose Her Perfect Engagement Ring

By Kirsty Wareing, Content Editor for Ritani

When you’re ready to propose, you want to get it right. That not only refers to the time and place, but the ring that you offer her. As a symbol of how much you know and love her, it should reflect her tastes and suit her lifestyle. Ritani, a member of the American Gem Society, offers these tips for selecting a perfect engagement ring that she’ll want to wear forever.

A sense for style

If you’re not sure where to start, pay attention to the type of clothes she wears and the jewelry she already owns. Does she prefer simple, classic designs that never go out of style? Or is she a fan of ornate, vintage pieces that seem more glamorous?

Solitaire diamond engagement rings are ideal for those who love understated, elegant silhouettes. A handcrafted halo ring, on the other hand, is a smart choice if she likes to stand out with lots of sparkle.

Photo by Ritani

Photo by Ritani

Talk to her trusted friends

Carefully consider the people closest to her, and approach those who you can trust not to reveal the secret. Friends and family will often have a good idea of her favorite diamond shape, engagement ring setting, and even her ring size. Depending on how comfortable you feel, you can visit a jewelry store or browse online together to discuss designs that she may love.

If you don’t feel like you can ask anyone she knows for help, some subtle snooping can also be fruitful. Her Pinterest boards, for example, may reveal a lot about her favorite ring designers and jewelry styles.

The dazzling details

When it comes to the 4Cs, there can be a lot of choices to make in the quest for her dream ring. Take your time learning about diamond cut, clarity, color and carat weight, in order to choose a quality diamond that fits within your budget. If you’re opting for a fancy diamond shape – such as a cushion cut or emerald cut diamond – take time to understand the different qualities of your chosen shape.

Often, jewelers will have specially curated selections to make choosing a diamond easier. Ritani Reserve diamonds, for example, all have an AGS Laboratories’ Scintillation Report that uses proprietary AGS Laboratories’ technology to analyze the science and artistry behind each diamond. The Scintillation Report reveals that these diamonds produce the most sparkle of any diamond available.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

While it is natural to want to give her the ring she’s always dreamed of, you don’t need to get everything absolutely perfect. Some jewelers and companies, such as Ritani offers free ring resizing, so that if you propose with a ring that’s not her exact fit, there’s no need to worry.  Ask about a guarantee or warranty. For example, Ritani provides lifetime care with every engagement ring, including a free appraisal, free cleanings at your local jeweler, and a lifetime warranty.

Any quality jeweler will be happy to provide you with exemplary service, both before and after you pop the question. The perfect engagement ring will be designed to last through all the years of your relationship, and for generations to come.

Photo by Ritani

Photo by Ritani

How do you sparkle?

By Amanda L. Colborn

How do you sparkle?

You’re likely familiar with the 4 C’s of Diamonds: Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat – however, there is another very important aspect of diamonds to keep top of mind: Sparkle!

Sparkle, or Scintillation as it is also known, is the play of white and colored flashes of light seen when the diamond is viewed in motion.  Viewable with the naked eye, sparkle is the life of the diamond.

Sparkle does have two different aspects, flash scintillation and fire scintillation.

Flash

flash

Flash scintillation is the dynamic pattern of white sparkles observed across a diamond’s crown. Because flash can be seen across a broader range of light environments, it is more common to see white sparkles in a diamond than colored flashes of fire.

Fire

fire

Fire scintillation is the dynamic pattern of colored sparkles observed across a diamond’s crown. Because of the refraction caused by a diamond’s faceting, normal white light can be split into many spectral colors as it leaves the diamond.

Light and Movement

Without light, diamonds can’t sparkle.  As light is a key ingredient, diamonds with the highest potential for sparkle find light in broad ranges of commonly encountered illumination environments and redirect the light to the observer’s eye through the diamond.

The other key attribute is movement, which sets the scintillation performance apart from its light performance.  A motionless diamond in broad diffuse lighting cannot demonstrate the beautiful display of scintillation. It is movement that causes the flickering of sparkle across a diamond, whether it is the diamond, the observer, or the light source that moves.

But, how do you sparkle?!

Cut is key to sparkle.  A diamond with superior sparkle has flashes of light and color across the top of the diamond.  A poorly cut stone can have “dead” areas where no flash or fire is seen.

For a fun and unique take on sparkle, check out AGS Laboratories’ very own Executive Director, Peter Yantzer, talk about how he sees sparkle.

So you think you know a guy who knows a guy who has a cousin who can help you find a diamond?

By Evert P. Botha, Registered Supplier, Embee Diamonds

 

Think again.

Truth be told, just about everyone knows someone in the diamond and jewelry trade, but do you have a relationship with a trusted jewelry professional? Someone with the credentials to prove that they know their stuff? Someone that’s not interested in simply selling you what they have available at a bargain price?47th_Street

So called “bargain” prices on diamonds should always raise several red flags. Let’s look at some of the many factors that impact such “bargain” prices.

 

Firstly, origin or conscience. Diamonds that make their way into the supply pipeline from questionable sources are very often steeply discounted. These diamonds are imported into diamond producing centers illegally and are mixed with diamonds from legitimate sources. Illegitimate sources are countries suspended by the Kimberly Process, sanctioned or blocked by the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control or any other government agencies, and most obviously stolen goods.

 

Secondly, grading. Diamonds that are misgraded or misrepresented are always steeply discounted. When purchasing a diamond, always insist on a grading report from a trusted, reputable grading laboratory such as AGS Laboratories or the Gemological Institute of America, and when in doubt, ask the opinion of a Certified Gemological Appraiser.

 

Thirdly, their credentials. When dealing with a diamond or jewelry professional, make sure they have the required credentials. If you have an established relationship with an American Gem Society Retailer you’re in safe hands as they’ve already made a commitment to consumer protection, ethical business practices, and the development of superior gemological skills and knowledge. Don’t be afraid to ask for these credentials.

 

Fourthly, presentation. So much can be said about the presentation of diamonds which differs from store to store. Your jewelry professional should always have a loupe or microscope available for you to view your diamond. If they don’t have one, then they don’t know diamonds.

 

Ask your jeweler to look at the diamond under normal and/or daylight conditions. You don’t live in a jewelry store, so you should always ensure that your diamond’s brilliance doesn’t die the minute you walk out of the store. A lot of jewelers have advanced hardware and tools to demonstrate the diamond’s light performance and cutting precision.

 

Ask your jeweler to demonstrate or show you the diamonds interaction with light using their ASET (Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool) or if the diamond has an AGS Laboratories grading report, they should be able to explain the diamond’s ASET image as displayed on the report.ASET_IMAGE

Lastly, and I really mean lastly, the C’s. Once you’ve established that your jeweler knows their diamonds, then talk about whichever one of the many C’s are most important to you as this is what determines the value (and future value of your diamond).

 

Everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows someone else who can get you a deal, but you’re buying a diamond to propose, to celebrate and to remember. It should be something special and you should rely on accredited jewelry professionals to help you.Engagement_Ring