Four Holiday Shopping Tips

Trying on ring at jewelry store

Tips on Buying Jewelry This Holiday Season

With the holiday shopping season here, the American Gem Society (AGS) has been receiving questions from shoppers seeking jewelry buying tips and secrets. We thought we would answer a few of our most frequently asked questions to help ease the pressure off this hectic season.

“How do I know if I’m getting a good deal?”

Trust your jeweler. Do your research, read reviews of their store, ask friends and shop with a credentialed jeweler. We take great efforts to vet all of our members, to make sure that they continue their gemological education and that they adhere to the AGS standards of ethics and integrity.

Click here to learn more about the importance of shopping with a credentialed AGS jeweler.

To find an AGS member jeweler near you, visit americangemsociety.org/findajeweler.

“Before I buy gems that have been altered to enhance their appearance, is there anything I need to know?”

Make sure that the piece comes with the proper disclosures and that you understand how to care for the gemstones. Ask your jeweler if the treatments are permanent. For example, fracture-filled diamonds can have their filling damaged by an ultrasonic cleaner or steam cleaning. Some irradiated stones are susceptible to color change with high heats such as that from a jeweler’s torch.

“What advice do you have when shopping for diamonds?”

Ask for a diamond that comes with an independent diamond grading report, specifically, an AGS Laboratories diamond grading report. AGS Laboratories is a nonprofit lab created with a mission of consumer protection.

A diamond grading report from AGS Laboratories offers a simple, straightforward, and intuitive 0-10 scale and provides all the information you need to be comfortable with your diamond-buying decision.  Visit americangemsociety.org/agsdiamondgrading to learn more.

“When should I get an appraisal?” 

There are different kinds of appraisals for different purposes. The most common reason for an appraisal is to obtain insurance to ensure a replacement of equal quality and value in the event of damage or loss.

For this purpose, either an Insurance Replacement Appraisal or Statement of Replacement Cost should be requested. The Insurance Replacement Appraisal represents the retail replacement cost with a comparable item.

The Statement of Replacement Cost is provided by the actual seller of the item of jewelry and will report the actual selling price based on the normal selling price of that item in that particular store. In general, you want to get your appraisal updated every two years, or if you have a significant life change, like a change of address. Of course, the best reason to get an appraisal is if the piece has significant meaning to you.

To find an AGS-credentialed appraiser near you, visit americangemsociety.org/findanappraiser.

If you have more questions, you can reach out to any AGS member jeweler or AGS-credentialed appraiser, and they’ll be happy to assist you. The American Gem Society wishes you a very happy holiday season, full of sparkle and wonderful surprises!

Kunzite: pretty in pink

This stunning ring from Omi Prive has been getting a lot of attention on our Facebook page this month. It’s a kunzite and sapphire ring; a combination that is gorgeous!  We love the unique design and the use of kunzite as the center stone.

 

Omi

 

Some interesting facts about kunzite:

  • It’s a bit of a newbie in the gemstone world: this pretty gemstone has only been known for about 100 years.
  • In 2014, Pantone named “Radiant Orchid” its Pantone Color of the Year, and it helped give a second renaissance to kunzite. “Radiant orchid” is a great way to describe this beautiful gem that ranges from pink to violet.
  • Whether the kunzite is natural or enhanced through treatments, the color can fade when exposed to certain elements, namely heat and intense light. To be safe, store your kunzite jewelry in a jewelry box or case when it’s not being worn.

Ask your American Gem Society Jeweler about kunzite. Need a trusted jeweler? Find one here.

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.

Behind the Acronym: Jewelers Work Hard to Earn their Credentials

By Donna Jolly, RJ

We often urge you in this blog to locate a credentialed jeweler before you make a fine jewelry purchase. A skilled professional can help you find the right piece of jewelry so that you are not only satisfied with what you’ve bought, but confident that you made the best choice.

If their role is, therefore, crucial in the jewelry buying process, then what does it take for jewelers to stay on top of their game so that they can best help you? What is the level of skill that the initials after their name represent?

Every fall, members of the American Gem Society undergo a proud tradition: recertification of their credentials. In order to maintain their AGS titles, they are required to take an exam that tests their knowledge of gemology. The recertification exam comes with pages of articles and abstracts that AGS members must read before taking the challenging test.

The person in charge of creating the recertification exam is Alethea Inns, CGA, Director of Gemology and Education of the American Gem Society.  Ms. Inns took time out of grading recertification exams to answer three questions that will help you better understand why professional credentials matter when buying jewelry.

Alethea Inns, CGA, Director of Gemology and Education at AGS

Alethea Inns, CGA, Director of Gemology and Education at AGS

What exactly is a credentialed jeweler and why do you think it’s important to shop with one?

Shopping with a credentialed jeweler is like seeing any professional who is certified annually—like a CPA, for example.  It means they have committed to ongoing professional development, including staying up-to-date on developments that affect their customers. AGS credentialed jewelers are called “Titleholders” because they hold titles that differentiate them as committed professionals.

What is the importance of the recertification exam?

AGS requires each of our Titleholders to take an annual recertification exam to ensure they are up-to-date with the latest gemstone treatments, ethical disclosures, Federal Trade Commission guidelines, marketing, and appraisal principles.  This test ensures your jeweler has the most relevant knowledge to keep your best interests in mind when helping you shop for your special occasions.

Can you give us a sample question from the exam?

Which of the following is a key identifier of lead glass-filled ruby?

  1. Unaltered rutile needles
  2. Altered rutile needles
  3. Blue flash effect
  4. Fluorescence

How does a jeweler knowing this help them to better help their customer at the sales counter?

It’s important for jewelers to know what treatments or enhancements any gemstones have been subjected to so they can disclose them appropriately to you.  Treatments and enhancements to gemstones can affect their value, care, and cleaning requirements, and ultimately your purchasing decision.  Glass-filled rubies have become commonplace in the market, and it’s important that AGS jewelers know how to recognize them.  This knowledge is an important way AGS jewelers keep the customer’s best interests in mind.

Shop with a knowledgeable, credentialed jeweler. It’s the number one way you can ensure that you are making an informed decision at the sales counter. Find your local AGS jeweler here: https://www.americangemsociety.org/findajeweler

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.

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.