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.

August is Romance Awareness Month!

By Amanda L. Colborn

Even though the American Gem Society is a professional organization dedicated to credentialing jewelers and consumer protection, we understand that one of the biggest reasons people give jewelry is to show their love. And we love…..well, love! So this blog is a celebration of romance, and lucky for us, August is National Romance month.  So we thought we’d take the opportunity to celebrate Romance Awareness Month in all its glory, and hopefully inspire you to remember to add some romance to your life as well.

Ring by Hearts on Fire

Ring by Hearts on Fire

The online dating site, Zoosk, conducted an annual Romance Awareness Survey. From the survey results, it should come as no surprise that 81% of women and 69% of men surveyed, believe that women are more romantic than men.

What MAY surprise you is that Valentine’s Day, at 19%, ranked lower on the romance scale than an anniversary, at 57%, and even a first date which came in at 24%. First impressions really do go a long way!

Jewelry from Supreme Jewelry

Jewelry from Supreme Jewelry

For the singles out there, you’re not alone. Most single people are completely underwhelmed by the amount of romance in their life. 73% of single men and 80% of single women surveyed say they are were unhappy in the romance department.

But couples aren’t completely satisfied either — see! The grass isn’t always greener as 60% of men and 66% of women say that they would not stay in a relationship with a partner they deemed was unromantic or not romantic enough.

So how can you add more romance to your life?

Well, for singles, the good news is that a lot of single people are looking for more romance in their lives. So if you’re considering approaching the lady checking out the produce at the grocery store, or standing behind you in line at the bank; smile and confidently say, “Hello.” Believe it or not, you feel more confident smiling (even on the telephone) than you do with a straight face. You’ll come across happier and don’t be surprised if a few other heads turn as well.

And don’t forget that best first date impression!

For couples, adding a little romance to your everyday life can actually be quite easy.

Romance experts suggest ideas as simple as:

  • A promise ring or other piece of fine jewelry, personalized for your partner
  • A simple compliment goes a long way. Tell your partner something you’ve secretly been admiring about them for a long time.
  • Send a romantic text in the middle of their mundane work day.
  • Plan a staycation! A weekend at home or in a local Bed & Breakfast, just the two of you.
  • Write a letter. Something so old-fashioned and simple can have lasting effects! For inspiration, check out some famous love letters written by well-known idols, click here.
Earrings by Ritani

Earrings by Ritani

Conclusively, Romance Awareness month offers you an opportunity to break from your romance rut and it’s a helpful reminder to show the one you love (even if it’s yourself!) how important adding a little romance to your life can be. Enjoy!

 

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.

 

Why is Valentine’s Day the most romantic day of the year?

By Amanda L. Colborn

Whether you’re single or coupled up, betrothed or still dating — Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year and not just a “Hallmark holiday” as many people say and assume.

In actuality, Hallmark didn’t even produce its first Valentine’s Day card until the year 1913 – centuries after the declaration of the holiday in 1537.

The origins of Valentine’s Day are shrouded in mystery.  The Catholic church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine.  One legend tells of Valentine as a priest who served during third century Rome. Valentine defied Emperor Claudius II by marrying young lovers in secret after the Emperor outlawed marriage saying it was a distraction to men going into war.

Other stories tell of a St. Valentine who may have been killed for trying to help Christians escape the perils of Roman imprisonment.  A more famous legend eludes to St. Valentine as being the original sender of Valentine’s Day greetings when he fell in love with a young woman who upon his deathbed, wrote her a letter and signed it “From your Valentine,” an expression still very much used today!

Though there are several different stories about the origins of this holiday, they all lead back to celebrating the loving hero that was St. Valentine.

Whichever history you choose to believe, make sure you spread the love to your partner or just treat yourself to something special!

And if you really want to show your significant other how much you love them, you can join the other several million people around the world who will be announcing their engagement on this most romantic of days!  If you plan on popping the question, make sure you check out the American Gem Society’s Perfect Proposal Toolkit for everything from how to choose a ring to how to set up the perfect proposal. And share with us! Tell us your story on social media, be sure to use #AGSProposal!

Have a safe and happy holiday!

A stunning ruby and diamond ring by Suna Bros.

A stunning ruby and diamond ring by Suna Bros.

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

5 Reasons to Love Rubies

By Donna Jolly, RJ

The birthstone of July is the fiery Ruby. As someone who has walked up and down many aisles at jewelry trade shows, I can attest to the eye-drawing power of rubies. You see one out of the corner of your eye and you cannot help but stop immediately and take a look. If you happen to run across a cluster of rubies, you might be standing outside the display case, gawking for a long time. Refreshments might be needed.

There are many, many reasons to love rubies. Here are five:

1. Jewelry lovers love them. Elizabeth Taylor, the grand dame of Hollywood jewelry lovers, adored her rubies. 105337119_taylor_286348c

She wrote about receiving this stunning set (left) given to her by her third husband, Mike Todd, and she makes it sound like a magical moment, a la Hollywood style. Dame Elizabeth was taking a swim when he presented her with this gorgeous gift:

 “I got out and put my arms around him, and he said, ‘Wait a minute, don’t joggle your tiara.’ Because I was wearing the tiara he had bought for me in the pool! He was holding a red leather box, and inside was a ruby-and-diamond bib necklace, which glittered in the warm light. It was like the sun, lit up and made of red fire. First Mike put it around my neck and smiled. Then he bent down and put matching earrings on me. Next came the bracelet. Since there was no mirror around, I had to look into the water. The jewelry was glorious, rippling red on blue like a painting. I shrieked with joy, put my arms around Mike’s neck, and pulled him into the pool after me. It was a perfect summer day and a day of perfect love.”

 Wait—she wore a tiara in the pool? And then she dove in wearing that expensive ruby and diamond set? Time to brush up on jewelry care. Thankfully, this is a great lead-in to reason #2 to love rubies:

2. They are very durable. Ruby is a variety of the gems species corundum. As a result it is harder than any natural gemstone except diamond, which means a ruby is durable enough for everyday wear. In fact, it’s one of the more popular alternative choices in engagement rings.

3. It’s a rare gift from nature. Fine-quality ruby is extremely rare, and the color of the gem is most important to its value. The most prized color is a medium or medium dark vivid red or slightly purplish red. If the gem is too light or has too much purple or orange, it will be called a fancy-color sapphire.

4. It has healing powers. According to lore, ruby can aid in improving emotions. It is also known to increase integrity, devotion, and happiness. Dame Elizabeth seemed pretty happy when Mike Todd gave her those rubies, so that part we know is true!

5. Because of jewelry like this, from Jye’s International. Hello beautiful!

 

Happy Birthday, July Babies!Jye's International Inc.

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.