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.

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.

 

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.

 

The AGS Perfect Proposal Toolkit! Everything you need this Valentine’s Day

By: Amanda L. Colborn

Ahhh…..Valentine’s Day.  Love is in the air. Everyone is getting excited. Excited about spending time with their loved one. The dates. The surprises. The perfect time to propose!

Maybe you’re on the opposite end, you’re the one trying to plan the proposal. But where do you even start? There are so many things to consider! When is the right moment? Where should I propose? Do I want other people around me or just the two of us? And of course, what will the answer be?!

You can rest assured, The American Gem Society is here to make your proposal absolutely perfect!

In preparation for arguably the most popular day for marriage proposals, the diamond and gem experts American Gem Society and American Gem Society Laboratories have launched the Perfect Proposal Toolkit, as well as an all-new proposal countdown clock.

We created this Toolkit to provide 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.

Did you know that on average, men spend a little over three months hunting for the perfect ring?  Our site provides expert advice on selecting the type of ring with which to propose (including what to look for when selecting the proper stones, settings, colors, sizes, etc.) saving you time and money, as well as memorable proposal stories, the latest trends, music playlists to set the mood and more.

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.

To provide ample time to plan a small or large scale proposal, the Perfect Proposal Toolkit will be live through Valentine’s Day.

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

We cannot wait to hear from you on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook about how your perfect proposal went!

 

Finding Your Jeweler

By Alethea Inns, CG

happy young romantic couple in love buy jewelry ring in luxury s

As a jewelry industry professional, I am often asked where to find a jeweler, how to find one that is trustworthy, or where to get professional appraisals.  My answer is always the same.  Find an American Gem Society credentialed jeweler or appraiser, and you are guaranteed a jewelry industry professional committed to your best interests.  AGS credentialed jewelers are pledged to consumer protection, business ethics, and continued education.  Jewelry stores that are AGS members are admitted to the Society after going through a series of approvals by an anonymous panel of fellow industry professionals, and their qualifications from education to business practices are examined.  Only one out of 20 jewelry stores qualify for this prestigious distinction.

As an AGS member, each store has a number of Titleholders – individuals that have extensive gemological, jewelry, and appraisal education verified by the American Gem Society.  AGS titles are the only professional credentials in the jewelry industry, because they are the only ones that are the result of an assessment process, require professional experience, indicate adherence to a set of standards, have ongoing requirements in order to maintain them, and are awarded by a third-party, standard-setting organization.  Often the educational requirements for an AGS Title include the Graduate Gemologist diploma (GG) from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), but Titleholders are also required to prove their commitment to the “AGS Way” through additional tests and an annual recertification exam.

There is a number of AGS Titles to look for when you seek out your jeweler or appraiser.  Registered Jewelers (RJs) and Certified Gemologists (CGs) have a background in gemology and business ethics, while Certified Gemologist Appraisers (CGAs) and Independent Certified Gemologist Appraisers (ICGAs) have more extensive education and experience with appraisals.  No matter the AGS Title your jeweler or appraiser holds, they belong to an elite group of jewelry industry professionals committed to you, and backed by the American Gem Society.

To find an AGS credentialed jeweler or appraiser in your area, visit:

http://www.americangemsociety.org/find-a-jeweler

http://www.americangemsociety.org/find-an-appraiser

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

Show-stopping Sapphire

By Donna Jolly, RJ
American Gem Society

We are always posting photos of beautiful jewelry from members of the American Gem Society on our social networks.  We noticed our online friends really liked this stunning  5.12 carat ceylon sapphire with two oval diamonds from AG Gems. We can see why. This is the type of ring that shy people should not wear, because they will get noticed–from far away! Extroverts, here’s a ring for you. What do you all think?

Ceylon Sapphire from AGS Gems

Ceylon Sapphire from AGS Gems

Which Engagement Ring is Right for You? Take our Quiz!

By Donna Jolly, RJ
American Gem Society

Forevermark diamond engagement ring

One of the questions we get asked the most at the American Gem Society is, “How do I figure out which engagement ring is the right one?” A lot of people have an idea of what they like when it comes to rings, but most people like many different styles. After all, there are a lot of beautiful choices when it comes to jewelry. Take heart: it doesn’t matter if your taste veers toward classic,or if you are a full-blown hipster, there is a ring that is perfect for you.

Our new quiz is a fun and easy way to figure out which ring style is your match. It’s quick and easy and at the end you’ll have a suggestion of which diamond shape is your style.

If, after taking the quiz, you still need some more tips, check out this tutorial and video we put together on finding the perfect ring. There’s even more information than that. The American Gem Society website has a wealth of information on engagement rings: from a primer on diamond grading (never buy a diamond without a diamond grading report) to tips on buying a diamond. Finally, the key ingredient that you need to find the perfect engagement ring is to shop with a jeweler you trust. You can find one here.

Have more questions? Leave a comment here and one of our gemological and jewelry experts will help with free advice.

4 Reasons Diamonds are Not Expensive

By Preston Wallace, CGA, K-Jon’s Jewelery

Customers walk in my door every day and say “Wow! $8,000 for that?  Diamonds are expensive!”  But they’re not. 

I know what you’re thinking: I’m crazy, right?  No, I meant what I said, and no, I’m not crazy.  If you consider what diamonds are, how we get them, and what their value does over time, I think you’ll agree that diamonds are NOT expensive.  Here are 4 reasons why:

1. Diamonds are Rare

On average, one million diamonds must be mined to find one 1ct diamond.  Think about that!  Diamonds are extremely rare, especially in larger sizes.  They’re hard to find, requiring years and years of expensive exploration and research to find large deposits.  In fact, only a very select few locations in the world have gem-quality diamonds (the ones worth mining).  Once the diamonds are found, they’re difficult to mine, often requiring explosives and immense earth moving equipment to extract them. Firemark_Princess_DiamondPhoto from www.firemarkprincess.com

2. Diamonds are Eternal

Diamond is the hardest material known. Thus, they last for years, many times centuries.  Have you ever seen an Art Deco or Mid-century diamond ring?  That ring has lasted for decades, if not a century, and the diamonds are almost untouched.  Many of the family rings that are still in existence contain diamonds, and it’s because of their lasting qualities that keep them around.  Just think of the Hope Diamond, arguably the most famous of them all.  It’s been around since the 1600s, and it still sparkles in all its beauty in the Smithsonian Institution today.

3. Diamonds are Difficult to Cut

Diamonds have to be hand-faceted.  This is done using a pottery-wheel-looking device that is literally encrusted with diamond dust so that the diamond can be polished.  There are 57 or 58 facets on a Round Brilliant Cut diamond, and each of those facets has to be in exactly the perfect position and angle to maximize the diamond’s light performance.  There is even one crystal direction in which a diamond will not cut.  That means when the diamond cutter makes his first facet, he has to know that none of the remaining 56 or 57 facets will line up with that “uncuttable” direction.  Diamond cutting is a painstaking process that takes hours to perform and years to perfect.  Diamond cutters are just that—diamond cutters by trade, and nothing else.  It’s much like a heart surgeon, taking education and years of training to become an expert. Preston_Wallace_Diamond_Cutting

4. Diamonds Have Great ROI

Diamonds are considered a luxury.  However, what luxury good can you buy these days, enjoy to its full potential, and then 20 years from now, sell it for more than what you bought it for?  I’m pretty sure your Porsche won’t do that.  But diamonds?  Because of their hardness and lasting nature mentioned above, they’ll still be the same 20 years from now.  I never recommend someone to buy a diamond SOLELY as an investment, but if you like diamonds for their beauty and to wear them, the fact that they hold value is a huge added plus.  A diamond is a commodity—a beautiful and breathtaking commodity, but a commodity just the same.  In an inflationary economy, a diamond will most likely go up in value over the long run.  If the value of the dollar (or your currency) goes to zero, you will still have something of significant intrinsic value.  What’s more, like gold, it’s internationally recognized as an item of value, so it will hold its value no matter where you are worldwide.  So, enjoy your luxury for years on end and pass it down to the next generation, knowing it still holds its value.  Now tell me somewhere else that gets you a better Return On Investment than that.

While diamonds are certainly luxury goods, they are not expensive—at least for what you get.  Diamonds are Rare, Eternal, Difficult to cut, and have great ROI.  The next time you see a 1-carat round diamond for $8K, think of what had to happen for that diamond to arrive, breathtaking, in front of your eyes.  Think of the years you will spend admiring its beauty and cherishing the person who gave it to you.  And think of the loved one that will enjoy it for years to come, after you pass it on to them.  Diamonds may cost a bit of money, but they are far undervalued and in the long run, they’re definitely worth it.

Proposals Gone Wild

Fact: We are in the middle of Proposal Season. It starts at the beginning of February and runs through March 20th, which happens to be National Proposal Day.

The things you learn from blogs, right?

Being a non-profit in the jewelry industry, the American Gem Society has learned a thing or two from our members about marriage proposals. We watch their social media pages and see the stories they share from their own clients. Some proposals are romantic and heart-felt, some are silly, and sadly, sometimes a proposal will fail. It was the latter class of proposals where we felt we could help, which is why we decided to do our Perfect Proposal Toolkit.

And just to make it fun, we have a contest. One lucky winner will receive a $2,500 gift card to an American Gem Society jeweler in their area.

Already married, or have no prospects for love in sight (at the moment)? That’s okay. You can still enter. We all need jewelry!

We all also need a good laugh, so check out this video of a guy and his dog trying to come up with the best way to pop the question: