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.

Tips from Jewelers Mutual: Clean Gold Jewelry the Right Way

Jewelry has always been a part of human culture, as well as the need to keep it clean. When it comes to cleaning gold—whether it’s pure gold or mixed—it’s important to know how to safely clean it so it can continue to shine.

The following blog by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, How to Clean Gold Jewelry the Right Way, offers invaluable tips on cleaning your gold jewelry.

Happy Birthday October!

By Amanda L. Colborn

Happy birthday to all the October babies out there! October features two very unique and different birthstones.  Tourmaline and Opal, two of the most gorgeous and diverse birthstones make beautiful and vibrant jewelry.  Let’s explore them individually:

Tourmaline

Tourmaline has become a favorite gemstone among jewelry designers, and gem collectors the world over. Since it is available in a wide variety of colors, it is ideally suited to almost anyone’s taste. Tourmaline also is known for displaying several colors in the same gemstone.  These bi-color or tri-color gems are formed in many combinations; gemstones with clear color distinctions are highly prized.  One multi-color variety is known as watermelon tourmaline, and features green, pink, and white colors bands; to resemble its namesake, the gemstone is cut into thin slices having a pink center, white ring, and green edge.  Tourmaline is found in many localities including Brazil, Afghanistan, East Africa, and the USA.

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline rings from Suna Bros.

Tourmaline rings from Suna Bros.

Opal

The name opal derives from the Greek Opallos, meaning “to see a change (of color).”  Opals range in color from milky white to black with flashes of yellow, orange, green, red, and blue. An opal’s beauty is the product of contrast between its color play and its background.  Opal is a formation of non-crystalline silica gel that seeped into crevices in the sedimentary strata. Through time and nature’s heating and molding processes, the gel hardened into the form of opals. The opal is composed of particles closely packed in spherical arrangements. When packed together in a regular pattern, a three-dimensional array of spaces are created that give opal its radiance.

Fire Opal from AGS headquarters

Fire Opal from AGS headquarters

Yellow gold and Opal pendant from Spark Creations.

Yellow gold and Opal pendant from Spark Creations.

Close-up shot of a Opal pendant from Sydney Rosen Company

Close-up shot of a Opal pendant from Sydney Rosen Company

On behalf of everyone at AGS, we wish all the October babies out there a very happy birthday!

To find a beautiful opal and tourmaline jewelry in your area from an AGS credentialed jeweler, please check out our Find a Jeweler tool here: https://www.americangemsociety.org/find-a-jeweler

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.

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 August!

By Amanda L Colborn

With tomorrow marking the first day of August, we’d like to wish all the August babies a happy birthday! You have two special birthstones associated with the month of August. Both of which are not only unique and beautiful, but very representative of power and courage. Read on to learn more about the birthstones of August, peridot and sardonyx.

Peridot

Peridot is said to host magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares and to bring the wearer power, influence, and a wonderful year.

As peridot is a gemstone that forms deep inside the Earth and brought to the surface by volcanoes, in Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes.

Today, most of the peridot supply comes from Arizona; other sources are China, Myanmar, and Pakistan.  This gemstone comes in several color variations ranging from yellowish green to brown, but most consumers are attracted to the bright lime greens and olive greens.  Peridot, in smaller sizes, often is used in beaded necklaces and bracelets.

14K yellow gold, peridot and diamond earrings from Parlé Jewelry Design

14K yellow gold, peridot and diamond earrings from Parlé Jewelry Design

Sardonyx

Sardonyx is a form of onyx and is recognized by its layers of reddish brown and white banding.

It was popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans who carried into battle talismans of sardonyx engraved with images of heroes such as Mars or Hercules, believing that this would bring courage and victory.

Because of its attractive banding, sardonyx has long been used to fashion cameos (carved raised figures) and intaglios (the reverse of cameos).  This gemstone is found throughout the world.  The most attractive specimens are found in India, but material also is mined in Czechoslovakia, Brazil, Uruguay, Germany, and in the United States.

14k yellow gold filigree ring circa 1950 from Stanley Jewelers Gemologist, Little Rock, AK

14k yellow gold filigree ring circa 1950 from Stanley Jewelers Gemologist; Little Rock, AR

To all of those celebrating birthdays in August, we wish you a very happy birthday. And to everyone, we wish you a very happy August. If you’d like to learn more about any month’s birthstone, click here.

 

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—including a stunning fire opal—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:

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  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!
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  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!

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Rah! Rah! Rubies!

By Amanda L. Colborn

There’s no better way to demonstrate your love than by giving a ruby in celebration of a July birthday.

Ruby earrings by Omi Privé

Ruby earrings by Omi Privé

Rubies arouse the senses, stir the imagination, and are said to guarantee health, wisdom, wealth and success in love.

Ruby is a variety of the gems species corundum. It is harder than any natural gemstone except diamond, which means a ruby is durable enough for everyday wear.

Ruby earrings by AG Gems

Ruby earrings by AG Gems

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.

3 Fun Facts About Rubies:

  • Rubies are historically known as the stone of love.
  • Followers of Hinduism believe that wearing a ruby protects them from their enemies.
  • In addition to being the birthstone for July, rubies are also a traditional gift for those celebrating 15th or 40th anniversaries.
Diamond and Rubies waiting to be set at Nanci Knott & Company

Diamond and Rubies waiting to be set at Nanci Knott & Co.

 

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!