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.

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.

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

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!

 

Tips from Jewelers Mutual: When Not to Wear Your Wedding Ring This Summer

We love summer! The season tempts us to let those gorgeous gemstones sparkle in the sunshine, and it’s especially an attractive way to dress up bare skin. But don’t forget that the harsh chemicals in much-needed sunscreen, and the chlorine in the refreshing pool, are harmful to fine jewelry. While you’re having fun in the sun, you run the risk of ruining your jewelry—or even worse, losing it!

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company offers the following tips on how to keep your jewelry safe during this active season. Learn more by reading their blog, When Not to Wear Your Wedding Ring This Summer.

The Benefits of Jewelry Appraisals

By Phillip Bosen, CGA and Director of Business Development at Von Bargen’s Jewelry

A critical step in protecting and preserving the value of your jewelry is getting an updated appraisal on a regular basis. In fact, if the most recent appraisal of your jewelry took place five or more years ago, it’s time to get a new appraisal.

You may be asking what a jewelry appraisal does for you. The obvious answer is that an appraisal sets a value for your jewelry. And with today’s roller-coaster values for gold, platinum, silver and gemstones, knowing what your jewelry is worth can save you heartache later if your jewelry is lost or stolen.

The appraisal provides basic information most insurance carriers need to offer coverage for your jewelry. The updated value, along with the detailed description provided by an appraisal, will help smooth your settlement process if you were to suffer a loss.

Another appraisal benefit is having an updated assessment of your jewelry’s condition. Over time, prongs, clasps, settings and even stones can become loose or damaged. The review of your jewelry by a professional can help mitigate a possible loss by drawing to your attention any minor damage so an item can be repaired.

Now that I’ve convinced you to get an appraisal, who should you go to and what should it contain? The first choice for your appraisal should be a jeweler you trust. They should have the credentials necessary to do an appraisal, such as a Certified Gemologist Appraiser (CGA) from the American Gem Society, and/or be a member of one of the appraisal societies that dictate ethical appraisal practices. You may already have a grading report from AGS or another lab. These reports are used to verify the quality and authenticity of gemstones or diamonds, but do not establish value.

DSC0402-500

Your jewelry appraisal should contain:

  • Your name and address
  • Type of jewelry
  • What is the jewelry item made of?
  • What type of gemstones are used?
  • How are the stones graded?
  • How is it designed or fashioned?
  • Condition of the item being appraised
  • Color photograph
  • Current precious metal values
  • Manufacturer, origin, or designer
  • Purpose of the appraisal (example: for insurance purposes)
  • Credentials of the appraiser
  • Signed and dated by the appraiser

Phillip Bosen is the Director of Business Development at Von Bargen’s Jewelry and the only Certified Gemologist Appraiser in Vermont.

To find a CGA or ICGA in your area, click here.

DSC0378-500

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.