Happy Birthday November!

By Amanda L. Colborn

November has two beautiful birthstones associated with the month. If you’re a fan of color or variations of colored stones, than November is the perfect month for you. Both Topaz and Citrine shine in popularity because of their outstanding colors. They both also have a very special place in history!

Learn more about each stone below:

Topaz

Topaz is a gemstone available in a rich rainbow of colors. Prized for several thousand years in antiquity, at the time — all yellow gems were called topaz. Often confused with citrine quartz (yellow) and smoky quartz (brown), quartz and topaz are separate and unrelated mineral species. The most prized color of topaz is called Imperial topaz after the Russian Czars of the 1800s and features a magnificent orange body color with pinkish undertones. Topaz also comes in yellow, pink, purple, orange, and the many popular blue tones.

Topaz from Goshwara

Topaz from Goshwara

Topaz from Goshwara

Topaz from Goshwara

Citrine

Citrine, the other birthstone for November is known as the “healing quartz.” This golden gemstone is said to support vitality and health while encouraging and guiding hope, energy and warmth within the wearer. Citrine is also known as a success and prosperity stone. So much so that it is called the “Success Stone.” It is said to promote and manifest success and abundance in all areas, and in many ways. Citrine can be found in a variety of shades ranging from pastel yellow to dark brownish orange. It is one of the most affordable of gemstones and plentiful in nature. Citrine is found most frequently in Brazil, Bolivia, and Spain.

Citrine from Goshwara

Citrine from Goshwara

Citrine from Goshwara

Citrine from Goshwara

To learn more about any of the year’s birthstones, click here: https://www.americangemsociety.org/birthstones

How To Clean Your Jewelry

Blog post courtesy of The Kingswood Company

At the American Gem Society, we love sharing blogs with you about gemstones, diamonds, fine jewelry and new fashion trends. When it comes to jewelry care, we strive to give you the best jewelry care knowledge so your keepsakes will last for generations. That’s why in this blog, we teamed up with The Kingswood Company. For over 60 years they have been the leading innovators in high-quality, private-label jewelry care products. So this week’s blog is completely dedicated to keeping the jewelry you already have, or are looking to purchase, in the best possible care.

Routine home care of fine jewelry combined with regular inspections by a professional jeweler is essential to maintaining its beauty and allowing for a lifetime of enjoyment. For daily home care and cleaning, we recommend using professional jewelry cleaners and polishing cloths formulated especially for cleaning jewelry. Our descriptions below can help identify which trade-secret formulas is best suited to each piece in a jewelry wardrobe.

Note: Use extreme caution when using in-home sonic or ultrasonic machines, as they can cause stones to loosen or fall from their settings.

KC

 

 

 

 

Fine Jewelry Cleaner

Common Applications:

Diamond Earrings, Bridal & Engagement Rings, Watches, Rings, Earrings, Necklaces, Bracelets & Bangles.

Best Used On:

Gold, Palladium, Platinum, Stainless Steel, Titanium, Amethyst (Quartz), Aquamarine (Beryl), Crystal, Cubic Zirconium, Diamond, Garnet, Jade, Marcasite, Peridot, Ruby, Sapphire, Spinel, Topaz, Tourmaline.

Directions:

Immerse jewelry in jewelry cleaner each day for two minutes. Agitation and rinsing are not required. Blot dry.

Gentle Jewelry Cleaner

Common Applications:

Pearls, Fashion Jewelry, Beaded or Strung Jewelry, Sterling Silver with designer antiquing

Best Used On:

All pieces listed as safe for Fine Jewelry Cleaner above,
PLUS Sterling Silver (with designer antiquing or set with gemstones), Fashion Jewelry, Amber, Cameo, Coral, Emerald, Ivory, Lapiz Lazuli, Opal, Pearls (Cultured & Freshwater), Tanzanite, Turquoise.

Directions:

Immerse jewelry in jewelry cleaner each day for two minutes. Rinse carefully and blot dry. To clean strands dampen a soft cloth with solution and wipe pearls. Pearls should be professionally restrung annually.

Silver Jewelry Cleaner

Common Applications:

All types of Sterling Silver Jewelry.

Best Used On:

Tarnished Sterling Silver Jewelry without any set stones.

Directions:

Immerse jewelry in silver cleaner for one minute. Remove and rinse. Repeat as necessary. Blot dry, and polish with a polishing cloth to restore shine. Formulary can remove designer antiquing if kept in solution for too long.

Natural Jewelry Cleaner

Common Applications:

Diamond Earrings, Bridal & Engagement Rings, Watches, Rings, Earrings, Necklaces, Bracelets & Bangles

Best Used On:

Gold, Palladium, Platinum, Stainless Steel, Titanium, Amethyst (Quartz), Aquamarine (Beryl), Cubic Zirconium, Diamond, Garnet, Jade, Marcasite, Peridot, Ruby, Sapphire, Spinel, Topaz, Tourmaline.

Do Not Use On: Aluminum, Brass, Turquoise, Pearls, Emeralds, Opals or other Porous Gemstones

Directions:

Immerse jewelry in jewelry cleaner each day for two minutes. Agitation and rinsing are not required. Blot dry.

Polishing Cloth

Common Applications:

All types of Gold, Silver, Platinum Jewelry & Watches. The perfect finishing touch after using any of the cleansers.

Best Used On:

All Gold, Silver, Platinum & Palladium Jewelry and Watches that require buffing, polishing or tarnish removal.

Directions:

Using the inner white polishing cloth, rub surface until desired luster occurs. Buff with outside polishing cloth as desired.

As you can see, there are many different kinds of methods to use to keep your well-loved jewelry looking sparkling and new. If you are ever unsure how to clean a piece of jewelry, find a local AGS jeweler in your area and ask them for help! They’re your go-to resource for jewelry and jewelry care.

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

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

Celebrating September with Sparkling Sapphire

We’re getting a jump-start on September!

September’s birthstone is the sapphire, a beautiful gemstone that has been popular since the Middle Ages. According to folklore, sapphires bring wearers good fortune, spiritual insight and provide them with protection from envy and harm.

Blue sapphires range from very light to very dark greenish or violet-blue, as well as various shades of pure blue.  The most prized colors are a medium to medium dark blue or slightly violet-blue.  Sapphire is a variety of the gem species, corundum, and occurs in all colors of the rainbow.  Pink, purple, green, orange, or yellow corundum are known by their color (e.g. pink sapphire, green sapphire).  Ruby is the red variety of corundum.

Sapphires are one of our favorite gems here at the American Gem Society. They’re versatile and can be worn with just about anything, but strike a beautiful chord when paired with diamonds and white gold. While there are many shades of sapphires to choose from, the gem’s radiance never fails to attract attention. Here are the top three reasons why we’re in love with sapphires:

Blue Sapphire necklace and ring from Omi Privé

Blue Sapphire necklace and ring from Omi Privé

  1. They’re always in fashion. From blue to pink, sapphires of all colors are stylish staples of luxury. Sapphires hit the Hollywood stage every year, making regular appearances on the red carpet and in the collections of well-known celebrities and even royalty.
  2. They complement fall attire. Sapphire jewelry adds a touch of color to fall fashion apparel. The gem accents other fall colors really well, especially gray, red, and orange hues. Wearing a sapphire makes a statement and adds a vivacious aura that brings warmth to the crowd. They wouldn’t be called the September birthstone if they didn’t.
  3. They’re durable and stable. Sapphires (and Rubies) are second only to diamonds on the Mohs hardness scale, ranking at a solid 9 compared to a diamond’s 10. This hardness allows sapphires to be worn every day without the constant worry about them scratching or becoming damaged. Though it’s important to take care of your gemstones, sapphires can withstand chipping and breaking while being knocked or bumped. They’re also able to handle heat, light, and chemicals really well, bringing needed peace-of-mind to their wearers.
Blue and Pink Sapphire earrings from AG Gems

Blue and Pink Sapphire earrings from AG Gems

We’re excited to see what kinds of sapphires our members share with us this year! For more information about sapphires, please visit the American Gem Society website. Happy September!

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.

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!