October Birthstone Highlight
Individuals born in October get to choose between two birthstones – opal and tourmaline! October’s birthstones offer a full spectrum of gems to suit anyone’s personal style.
Opal & Tourmaline overview:
- Opal’s kaleidoscopic play-of-color can suit many changing moods and tastes to make this gem appropriate for anyone
- Dozens of opal varieties exist, but only a few like Fire Opal & Boulder Opal are universally recognized
- Color is the key factor of opal quality. Dark backgrounds provide more contrast against vivid play-of-color, making black opal more highly valued than milky white varieties
- The most expensive tourmaline are the green to violet colors that are often called “electric” or “neon” by the trade
- Tourmaline is desirable because of its range of color options, and it’s hardness makes for very wearable jewelry
Caring for & cleaning these gemstones:
- The only safe way to clean opal is with warm, soapy water
- Opals are sensitive to heat or excessive dryness
- Warm, soapy water is the best method for cleaning tourmaline
- Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are not recommended
Gifting Ideas & Style Inspo
Opal makes a great gift for anyone born in October, but its array of colors makes this gem appropriate for anyone!
1. Perfectly paired 14K yellow gold opal jewelry set
2. Dainty 14K yellow gold opal ring
3. Shine bright in these opal and diamond halo studs
Learn more about these gemstones from the American Gem Society here!
August Birthstone Highlight
August not only has Peridot as a birthstone, but the recent addition of Spinel! Spinel was added to the August birthstone lineup in 2016, and it adds a multitude of color choices, while peridot was the original birthstone for August since 1912.
Some fun facts about these gemstones:
- Peridot was believed to ward off evil spirits by the ancient Egyptians who called it “gem of the sun”
- Peridot is one of the oldest known gemstones & thought by the ancients to protect against spells & curses
- Yellowish green is the most popular hue of Peridot but can range from brownish-green to pure green
- Peridot only measures 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs Hardness scale, but finished gemstones are fairly robust and easy to wear
- Ancient gemstone merchants revered spinel, and it was widely sought after by royalty. It was then known as ‘balas ruby.’ It wasn’t until the late 18th century that we developed the technology necessary to distinguish spinel as a separate mineral from ruby
- Spinel ranges in hues from orange to red, pink, purple to blueish-green – making this a very versatile stone. Vivid red is the most desirable color of spinel gemstones
Caring for & cleaning Peridot:
- Warm, soapy water is the best method for cleaning peridot
- Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are not recommended for this gemstone
Peridot Style Inspiration
Whether you’re gifting this classic gemstone or incorporating it into your summer wardrobe, it will leave others green with envy! Check out our summer styling inspo:
1. Treat the August birthday girl to this perfectly paired pendant and ring set
2. Complete any outfit with this dainty 14KYG peridot & diamond pendant
3. Showcase your bold style with a gemstone ring that’s uniquely you
To learn more about these gemstones – check out the American Gem Society article here!
July Ruby Birthstone
It’s officially summer and we’re excited to share the next gemstone in our birthstone highlight series! Referred to as the king of precious stones, ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum.
Check out some fun facts about this stunning gemstone:
- Color is the most significant fact affecting a ruby’s value – fine gems are vibrant red to slightly purplish red
- Corundum may show a star effect, which usually appears as a six-ray star pattern across a cabochon-cut stone’s curved surface
- It’s the symbol of wealth and nobility
- Ruby is the gem for the 15th and 40th anniversaries
- It’s relatively hard, which means it’s a more durable gemstone and great for everyday wear
Caring for & cleaning rubies:
- Warm, soapy water is always safe
- Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are usually safe for untreated, heat-treated, and lattice diffusion treated stones
- Fracture-filled, cavity-filled, or dyed material should only be cleaned with a damp cloth
Ruby Style Inspiration
We’re loving this vibrant gemstone for summer whether it’s paired with a fun outfit to make a statement or kept simple to add a pop of color.
1. Make a statement with this one-of-a-kind gold ruby ring from our Estate Collection
2. Keep is simple with this delicate ruby and diamond necklace
3. Hop on the vintage trend and mix and match styles – great for stacking or worn on their own
To learn more about rubies – check out the GIA article found here.
Today we’re highlighting the February birthstone, amethyst. While amethyst is most commonly recognized to be a purple color, this gemstone can range from a light pinkish violet to a deep purple. The same stone can even have layers or color variants.
Here are some more fun facts about this gemstone:
- It’s often associated with peace, courage and stability
- English regalia were decorated with amethysts during the Middle Ages to symbolize royalty
- Amethyst jewelry has been found and dated as early as 2000 BC
- Use this gemstone to celebrate the 6th & 17th year of marriage
To learn more about this beautiful gemstone – check out the American Gem Society article found here.
Why do you need your jewelry appraised and why do you need it re-appraised every 7 years?
- Insurance. The most important reason for appraisals is for insurance purposes. Jewelry not only has a sentimental value but a monetary value and in many cases, a significant value. Because of this, you want to protect your jewelry and investment. While no one likes to talk about it, there is the possibility that your jewelry may get lost, stolen or damaged and when filing a claim with your insurance company, they will rely on the value of the piece based on your appraisal. While anyone can appraise an item, it is important to find a reputable jeweler who has been accredited by the American Gem Society (AGS) to ensure you are trusting your valuables with a professional who has been meticulously trained and certified to appraise jewelry properly. The best way to determine this is to visit the AGS website and find an appraiser or look for CGA (Certified Gemologist Appraiser) after their name. Another point to note – some insurance companies do not accept appraisals that are 2 years or older. Make sure you ask your insurance company on their policy and how frequently they require updated appraisal documents. Michaels recommends you have your jewelry appraised every 3-5 years.
- The value of your jewelry can change. The precious metal market is just like the stock market – the value changes on a daily basis, sometimes slightly and sometimes drastically. The value of your jewelry can, in some cases, increase over time!
- Restyling or any change to your jewelry. After time, we may want to change up our jewelry, whether taking the center stone of a ring and making it into a pendant or perhaps changing up the setting to have a more modern look. Any time that you make an adjustment to your jewelry, you should have it re-appraised to the proper value of the item
- You can save 50%! Michaels Jewelers has an Appraisal Program, where if you have your piece appraised with us, you can have it re-appraised within 7 years at 50% off the cost of the appraisal
- Detect Damage – If it has been a while since your jewelry has been appraised or inspected by a professional, you may not realize that there has been damage to your jewelry. Aside from having your jewelry appraised every few years, visit a reputable, certified jeweler to inspect and professionally clean your jewelry at least every 6 months. You may not realize it, but at times prongs can shift in jewelry or cracks can form in the stones. By detecting the damage early on, they can be repaired before something worse happens – such as a stone falling out, in which you would need to go through your insurance. Inspection and cleaning is complimentary at any Michaels Jewelers location – so don’t wait!
Did you know that only 5% of jewelers, designers and appraisers have met the American Gem Society standards? We are here to tell you what exactly is the American Gem Society (AGS) and why it is so important to find a jeweler who is AGS certified.
In 1934, Robert M. Shipley founded the AGS as a not-for-profit trade association comprised of retail jewelers, independent appraisers, suppliers, and selective industry members in the North America. The goal was to build an elite group dedicated to consumer protection, ethical business practices and the development of superior gemological skills and knowledge. The AGS was built with consumers in mind to protect them as well as their purchases by putting your trust into working with a consummate professional who adheres to the highest standards of the jewelry industry.
There are several titleholders which include:
- Registered Jewelers (RJ)- a title earned by those who have completed the required coursework and classroom study of diamonds & gemstones who also adhere to the AGS‘s Code of Ethics. This title but be renewed annual to increase knowledge and ethical practices
- Certified Gemologists (CG)- A Certified Gemologist has taken advanced studies in diamonds and colored gemstones. A CG also demonstrates mastery of diamond, gemstone, and precious metal testing procedures
- Certified Gemologist Appraisers (CGA)- This title is the most highly regarded among peers in the jewelry industry. Why? Because it certifies that the sales person can identify diamonds, gemstones, and jewelry and determine their value. This title requires advanced training and experience in determining the value of diamonds and gemstones
- Independent Certified Gemologist Appraisers (ICGA)– This title represents those individuals whose sole business is appraising. He or she does not purchase or sell diamonds, gemstones, or jewelry.To receive this certification, the appraiser has completed the requirements for RJ, CG, and CGA, plus has successfully completed an extensive course in personal property appraising. He or she must not only complete the annual re-certification exam, but also submit proof of continuing education in their field every five years
In order for a jeweler to become certified by the AGS, one must meet strict criteria that include:
- Have an exceptionally high level of gemological knowledge including successfully completing prescribed courses and classes in diamonds and colored gemstones
- Possess a reputation for unquestioned integrity and must conduct business to enhance the confidence of the public
- Demonstrate sincere interest in ethical business practices and exemplify this belief
- Be a retail jeweler, jewelry business supplier or independent appraisal business that has been established for at least two years with demonstrated financial stability
- All titleholders must be re-certified every year
In order to maintain membership, jewelers in the American Gem Society must agree to their Code of Ethics:
- Provide full disclosure of all facts pertaining to the products they sell
- Never intentionally deceive their employees, consumers, vendors, or business partners
- Compete fairly and never speak unprofessionally about their competitors. Likewise, encourage their colleagues in the jewelry industry to embrace these principals.
- Resolve any customer complaints relating to the sale of a product
- Not sell conflict diamonds. AGS jewelers must make every effort to fully comply with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the World Diamond Council System of Warranties
- Continue their gemological and jewelry education, always improving their knowledge and keeping up with trends in jewelry and ethical business practices.
- Adhere to anti-money laundering (AML) program, which is designed to comply with the USA Patriot Act
Michaels has several Managers and Associates with titles of Registered Jewelers, Certified Gemologists and Certified Gemologist Appraisers. To find an AGS certified jeweler near you, click here.
*Many excerpts were derived from the AGS website