Monthly Archive: September 2014

Fall/Winter 2014 Diamond Jewelry Trends

heart shaped jewelry

After a busy season in New York with the NY Fashion Week, it’s officially time to discuss major trends in fashion, makeup, hair styles and jewelry for the upcomming season. Not only fashion designers present their collections each season, but jewelry designers too. We’ve gathered a short list of the upcoming trends in diamond jewelry, in case you want to add some new pieces to your collection.

Big & Bold Jewels

This year,designers decided that bigger is better, for clothes, hair and accessories. Perhaps the 80s are going to be revived next year, as this year was all about the 90s. Not only fashion jewelry consisted out of statement pieces,  so the preferred metal for this season is still gold. Rose gold and white gold are going strong, but yellow gold jewelry gains more and more in popularity, probably because it goes so well with festive outfits.

Necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings, you name it, everything is big this season. The best part is, now you can take out again those diamond drop earrings you’ve been saving for special occasions.

Floral Designs

Especially for rings, many jewels created for this season were based on a flora design. Different versions of gold and diamond rings in flower shape were showcased by various jewelry houses.

Love Is In The Air

Although Valentine’s Day is till far away, heart shaped jewelry is another trend to watch for. Gold and diamond heart pendants will be the most sought out gift for this winter and even for the 2015 spring season.

Small Stones

There is an alternative to big, chunky jewelry, and that is choosing quite the opposite, delicate and feminine pieces. Small diamonds are added into complex designs of gold jewelry, for that extra “sparkle” factor. Bracelets laced with radiant diamonds, or embellished necklaces are the best accessories for a stylish outfit.

Vintage Style

For those who don’t want to give up on their vintage jewelry (or jewelry that at least seems to be vintage), don’t worry. The vintage trends is probably never going to disappear. Pearl and diamond stud earrings, or diamonds in combination with cushion cut gemstones are glamorous and chic. The same goes for rings too, as vintage style rings never go out of fashion.

Bridal Trends

One of the most interesting trends each season is the one regarding bridal fashion. Who knows how many couples are planning on purchasing the engagement ring in the next couple of months, so it’s no wonder the brides-to-be are eagerly browsing magazines and websites to see what style their engagement ring should have. For the 2014 – 2015 season, the main trends in engagement rings are the following:

-          Cushion cut diamonds, as an alternative to the classic round cut. The diamond still maintains its brilliance, but this cut also adds some extra elegance to it.

-          Eternity bands as engagement rings. Eternity bands are not only for anniversaries, as more and more people choose this ring style for engagement rings. This is a style suitable for those who want to keep it subtle, because in eternity bands diamonds don’t have to be “the bigger, the better”.

-          Small settings. This is another alternative for those who want an engagement ring that’s not too flashy. This type of setting looks great with a solitary diamond.

-          Rose gold. This metal was widely used for all types of jewels, but not so much for engagement rings. Brides seem to prefer it because it complements the skin tone better than yellow gold or silvery-white metals like white gold or platinum.

If some of these trends seem appealing to you, and you want to purchase a new diamond jewel, don’t hesitate to contact AGI New York, to find out how much a certain diamond is worth.

Photo:, user: lulek41

The Hidden Secrets of Estate Jewelry

old jewelry

The term of estate jewelry refers to old jewelry that was previously owned, regardless if inherited or obtained in other ways. Usually, when this type of jewelry is appraised, fair market value is used for estate evaluation purposes.

Many jewelry collectors or enthusiasts are eager to hunt for estate jewelry auctions, but they fail to realize not everything that’s old also has a great value. There seems to be a common myth how old jewelry offers finer gems or better workmanship, but of course that’s not the case. There are many exquisite pieces available today and it’s not like high quality gemstones have disappeared form the face of the earth. Actually, estate jewelry is tricky because it often happens that some old jewels are not what they seem to be and not even the previous owner was aware of it.

The older a piece, the more attentive you have to be. Stones set in old pieces are not always valuable, but just imitations, more or less well done. In some cases, the stone used in the jewelry are natural, not synthetic and not replicas, but their color makes them appear at the first glance something that they not. The case of the famous “ Black Prince’s Ruby”, part of the Queen’s Imperial State Crown is the best example for that. While the ruby was not a fake, it wasn’t a real ruby, but a red spinal, a natural gemstone that’s far more less valuable than a ruby. Imagine, if this happened to royalties, what makes you think it can’t happen to you?

Over the years, people were very inventive when it came to more or less faking the value of a jewel, for different reasons: to gain more money if they would sell it, to keep the appearence of a certain social status or for unknown reasons. For instance, it’s not unusual to see doubletes, which are two parts of a valuable gemstone, combined together with a bonding agent that makes them seem like a larger, finer and more valuable gemstone. Some doubletes are so well made, that only a trained eye can spot the difference.

A practice common for 18th century jewelry was using colored foil. Colored foil was placed between the gemstone and the metal backing. Although the period of the jewelry and the craftsmanship of the setting add great value, the color of the gemstones is very important for the final price.

All that being said,it’s true there are great opportunities to acquire great pieces form estate jewelry sales and auctions, but you will absolutely need to be careful, because otherwise you might end up spending a large amount of money on pieces that aren’t worth even half the price.  Especially for the market value, prices are fluctuating according to the trends and demands. Sometimes, jewelry from the Edwardian period is high in demand, other times the Art Deco period is increasing in popularity, not to mention that jewels from well-known houses, such as Cartier or Tiffany are much more valuable than “no-name” pieces. That’s why it’s strongly recommended to get appraisals for estate jewelry, in the case of inheritance and not only.

 Photo :, user: Junior Libby

The Antique Jewelry Appraisal Guide

antique jewelry

Over the last decades, Americans started to take much more interest in antiques in general and especially in antique jewelry. But, before you start digging through your grandmother’s old chest eager to find some unusual treasures, take a step back and be realistic.

If you want to put a price tag on antique jewelry, it’s most likely you won’t be able to, without the help of an expert, and here’s why: you’ll probably end up setting a much bigger price than what your jewelry is actually worth, or even worse you’ll end up throwing away genuine valuable pieces, because you don’t have the knowledge and experience to identify them.

Especially unexperienced antique jewelry owners should avoid the common pitfalls of this trade, by following some simple guidelines that helps them not to get ripped off.

Don’t sell to the appraiser!

This is the first and most important rule. Don’t sell antique jewelry to the dealer, or auction house or jeweler who’s appraising it. If a person is interested in buyong your jewelry, than you can be certain they will try it to get it at the lowest possible price. If you do go to a certified appraiser, be careful thou, because some of them will offer to buy your jewelry and this could create a conflict of interest. The best way is to get an appraisal from an independent appraiser, but be careful who you choose. If an appraiser charges you a percentage of your property’s value, find another one, because you can’t be certain your jewelry won’t be over evaluated, just to get a higher commission.

Internet appraisals are not accurate

Although no one says you can’t find plenty of information on the internet, an accurate appraisal can only be done by a specialist who is able to see and handle the jewelry. Pictures and descriptions do help a lot, but you can’t rely on merely opinions. And while it’s great you do your own research, to find out what you might be dealing with, it doesn’t mean that diamond ring you found in an old jewelry box is a real diamond.

Get recommendations

If you don’t know which appraiser to choose, it’s very easy to search for recommendations online. It also helps to ask around at bank managers or lawyers, because they have to deal with jewelry appraisals all the time in their line of work.

Ask before you choose

Get an estimate of the costs and how much will it take for the appraisal to be completed. Some appraisers are just very busy and you’ll have to wait even a month for the appraisal. If you’re in a hurry or have some sort of deadline, than this is something you need to think about.

Decide what you’ll do with the jewelry

Antique jewelry could be part of your own collection, you might want to sell, or it has sentimental value for you and you just want to know if it’s worth something to insure it. Make it clear for the appraiser how you want to use the jewelry. If the jewelry is for selling, the appraiser will look at the fair market value, meaning a price that is less than what retailers would sell it for. If you insure a piece of antique jewelry, the appraiser will establish the replacement value, using similar items as guiding. Usually, the appraised fair market value is lower than the value for insurance.

Don’t fix it!

If you have broken jewelry or scratched pieces, you’ll be tempted to fix it. Don’t do this on your own before you get a proper appraisal. You might even reduce the value of a piece next to nothing if you do a “repairing” on your own. Better have an expert look at it and then you’ll probably receive counseling regarding craftsmen or other places where you can get high-quality repairs.

Get appraisals in writing

Although this seems like something obvious, many people get fooled and even pay for verbal “appraisals”. An appraisal report should include the reason why the appraisal was asked, the methods that were used to determine the value of the jewelry and detailed descriptions. You should also get a clear statement of an item’s worth, not just an estimate.

Renew old appraisals

Especially on the antiques market, things are constantly changing. Even in this market, there are trends or times when the market is oversaturated with certain pieces and the prices are lower. That’s why appraisals should be done every 3 or 5 years.

If you want to have your antique jewelry appraised, our team of professional appraisers and qualified gemologists is ready to provide assistance in different type of appraisals, according to your needs. Just schedule an appointment and we’ll take care of the rest!

Photo credit:, user: JamesDeMer

The History And Connection Between Diamonds And Engagement Rings

diamond engagement ring history

Engagement rings are common now a days, offering such a special ring is considered to be one of the biggest and most awaited steps in a relationship. In fact, the custom of offering engagement rings is older than you might think, the only difference is diamonds were not the top choice gemstone for this matter.

History of Engagement Rings

Engagement ring history starts from  2nd century  BC, Pliny the Elder notes in his writings that it is custom for the Roman groom to give the bride a gold ring, to be worn at the marriage ceremony and at special events and and iron ring to wear at home. Rings didn’t have a romantic connotation back then, as they were symbols for a woman belonging to a man.

Meanwhile, in Asia, a hundred years later, sultans  and sheiks use puzzle rings to “tag” each of their wives. Just imagine, how many rings a sultan had to buy…

Engagement rings became more and more important over the years, but sadly, just for the women, as it was common practice in Medieval England for men to give girls rings made of rush. Of course, they wouldn’t marry them afterwards, and that’s why the bishop of Salisbury puts an end to this practice by declaring a marriage made with a rush ring as legally-binding.

One of the first recorded uses of a diamond engagement ring dates from 1477, when the Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposes to Mary of Burgundy with a personalized diamond ring. Thin, flat, diamond pieces were set in the shape of the letter M. 2 years earlier, Constanzo Sforza gave his bride, Camilla d’Aragona a diamond ring on their wedding day. Naturally, only royalties and wealthy noblemen were able to afford the luxury of giving diamond rings as engagement presents.

During the Renaissance, engagement rings are becoming more and more important and their design is also part of their charm, aside from the gemstones. Twin rings were very popular back then, as they were composed of two hoops that slid open to reveal love emblems and inscriptions. Twin rings evolved into faith rings, in which two clasped hands holding a diamond heart represented the unity of love. This romantic purpose of engagement rings was something rather common in Europe, but not across the Atlantic Ocean. Puritans gave their wives useful thimbles instead of rings, but the wives had something else in mind and they cut off the thimbles’ tops and wore them as rings anyway.

After the 17th century, there was again a shift to the gemstones as opposed to the setting for engagement rings, and diamonds were a more and more popular choice, as new gemstones were found during minings in South America.

Queen Victoria played an important part in the popularization of diamonds, as she had a real passion for sentimental jewels. She received an enamel band set with a single diamond as a gift of love from Albert and even her engagement ring was a serpent, ,the ancient symbol of protection and eternity. Victorians often used to make jewelry out of flocks of human hair (usually form beloved ones) and gemstones to spell out names or terms of endearment.

After the discovery of diamonds in South Africa in 1867, there was a sudden increase in diamond supply, and this lead to even more diamond jewelry and engagement rings, from here starts the history of diamond engagement rings .Cutting techniques allowed diamonds to look perfect and shine brightly in necklaces, bracelets, tiaras and rings. Tiffany & Co. introduces in 1886 the Tiffany setting, a special setting dezigned to maximizie the brilliance and the quality of a diamond. Up to now a days, Tiffany & Co. engagement rings are still the first choice for many brides-to be.

In the last decade of the 19th century, diamond rings were finally not only for the wealthiest people of the world, as they even appeared in mail-order catalogs. Of course, these were affordable, and didn’t have high quality standards, but still, brides were able to dream about having a diamond on their finger.

One of the traditional wedding rings in France, even today is the Cartier Trinity Ring, which has pink gold, white gold and yellow gold hoops intertwined.

In 1920, manufacturers and jewelers tried to sell engagement rings for men. This was a big flop, as men don’t seem to eager to wear them. Only in the 1940’s men started to wear wedding rings too, one them being famous actor Humphrey Bogart at his fifth and final wedding to actress Lauren Bacall.

By the 21st century, a more then third of couples buying diamond engagement rings are saving up at least two months’ worth of a salary to spend on them.

Engagement rings have established their position as symbols of love and faith, which gives them a sentimental value along with the financial one, and that’s why it’s important to treat them as a real investment. AGI New York provides a whole range of services, from diamond appraisals, certifications and insurance, so that our clients can benefit from diamond engagement rings on the long term. Scheduling an appointment is easy, you just need to contact us or pay us a visit and our gemologists will take care of the rest.

Photo Credit:, user: BurningWell

7 Ways To Spot A Fake Diamond

how to spot a fake diamond

When it comes to jewelry, it’s always difficult to establish the true value of a piece, especially if it’s of unknown origin or you suspect it to be fake. Most fake pieces of jewelry on the market are diamonds, because these gems are so high in demand. They make the perfect gift for engagements, birthdays, anniversaries, you can basically never go wrong with diamond jewelry. However, what if some of these gifts are not diamonds at all? Before checking with an expert, you can easily spot rough imitations of real diamonds with the help of some tricks.

Here is How to Spot a Fake Diamond:

  1. The transparency test. Place your diamond on a newspaper or any piece of paper with writing on it. If you are able to read through the diamond, than it’s most likely you have  a quartz or glass diamond. Real diamonds bend light because of their high refractive index, which makes it difficult to see through them, let alone read.
  2. The fog test. Diamonds are very good heat dispersers. If you hold a diamond to your mouth and blow on it, like you would when cleaning a mirror or a glass surface, a real diamond should evaporate the fog instantly. If it stays on the diamond for more than 3 or 4 seconds, you’re probably dealing with a fake.
  3. The weight test. If you own a carat or a gram scale, check the weight of your diamond. Fake ones usually weight 50-60% more than real diamonds of the same size.
  4. The sparkle test. Look very closely at your diamond’s sparkle. If you see many rainbow reflections, as beautiful as they may seem, they’re a sign of a low quality diamond or even a fake.
  5. The light test. This test can be made only if you have UV light or Black light at hand. The diamond should be placed under UV light or Black light in a dark room. If it has a blue, fluorescent glow, than it’s a real diamond. The absence of blue glow doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a fake, it could mean you have a high quality diamond. Green, yellow or grey fluorescence under UV light are common mostly for fake diamonds.
  6. The flaw test. Even though they are so expensive, diamonds are not flawless. They have tiny cracks, pinpoints or traces of carbon, called inclusions. These tiny flaws can affect the clarity of the diamond. Check with a magnified glass for inclusions and if you can’t spot any, there are two possibilities: you either have a very rare and expensive diamond that scores high on the clarity chart, or you have a fake.
  7. The metal test. As diamonds are expensive, they are usually set in precious metals, such as Palladium, Platinum, Gold or Silver. Check the jewelry for a hallmark. If  the hallmark has a (CZ) on the stamp, than your diamond is a fake, because it stands for “cubic zirconia”.

Keep in mind all these little tests don’t guarantee you accurate results, they might just help you spot really bad diamond fakes. There are so many great imitations out there, that you simply have to request professional help and get your diamonds appraised by a certified gemological laboratory. Not only will you be ensured about the quality of your diamonds, but they will be authenticated and certified. Even more, you can get insurance for your diamonds, as you would for your house or your car.

The Accredited Gemological Institute AGI New York, provides all the services above, and much more. Visit us and find out more abut our services.

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