When we purchase jewelry for our store, we look for things that will stand the test of time. We stay away from the ultra-trendy. Instead we look for items that you will be proud to wear from the day you purchase it until well into the future. we don't want your grandchildren to wonder what you were thinking when you bought that! We want them to treasure your jewelry as much as you do. Styles come and go, then come and go again, but quality and good design is eternal.
Gems of all kinds and colors are our passion. We routinely buy unique, individual gems from dealers and stone cutters from all parts of the world. Tsavorite, Tanzanite, Zambian Emerald and Tunduru Sapphire from Africa...Precious Topaz, Aquamarine, Chrome Tourmaline and Colombian Emerald from South America...Rubies from Burma (Myanmar)...Sapphires from Ceylon (Sri Lanka)...and the list goes on and on...

There are five factors, that when combined, make up a gem's value: color, clarity, carat weight, cut and rarity.


Color is typically the most important value-setting factor for gemstones. All gems have a preferred color or a relatively small range of preferred colors. The more the color varies from this range, whether lighter or darker, more or less vivid, the less valuable the stone. We like to think of candy, especially Jolly Rancher's, when we think of the best colors for gemstones!  If you can image how a gem would taste, that is the color you want. A watermelon-flavored spinel, an an apple-flavored tsavorite, a cherry ruby... you get it.


Clarity Type I stones usually form free of clarity characteristics.  These gemstones include diamond, aquamarine, green tourmaline, and tanzanite.  These gems are usually free from inclusions to the unaided eye.

Clarity Type II stones normally contain clarity characteristics. These gemstones include sapphire, amethyst, peridot and ruby. These gems typically show some eye-visible inclusions that do not detract from their overall beauty.

Clarity Type III stones almost always contain clarity characteristics. These gemstones include emerald and pink tourmaline. Although these gems almost always contain inclusions that one can easily see, they are part of the stone's unique chracter and in the case of an emerald have a name. The beauiful internal qualities of an emerald are called le jardin, the garden in the emerald.

The clarity grades that one may be familiar with in the diamond scale are then applied to the colored stone. And although the nomenclature is familiar,  the scale is changed for each clarity type. For instance, a slightly included (SI) graded Type I gemstone will have a much different appearance than a SI Type III gemstone. The first will contain minute inclusions that would be difficult to see with the unaided eye and the latter will have noticeable inclusions that are readily apparent to the unaided eye.

Carat Weight

Carat weight in a colored gem is the standard, 1 carat = 0.20 grams.

One carat contains 100 points, just like 100 pennies in 1 dollar, so 50 points equals a half carat. Generally the larger the stone is the more valuable it is, but that is not always the case. When a stone is too big to be practically worn in jewelry its value decreases. Think about a 400 carat amethyst, it would be the size of a lemon! Too big for jewelry and too small for a museum!

Another interesting thing to consider is the specific gravity of a gem. The greater the specific gravity, the smaller-looking a gem appears. A one carat diamond looks larger than a one carat sapphire.


Cut refers to the shape or design of a stone as well as the precision of the stone's proportions and finish. The cutting process revelas the beauty of a gem. Colored stones are cut into the usual shapes that one is familiar with like round, oval, and emerald cut that can also be carved and fashioned into fantasy shapes...limited only by a cutter's imagination.

The proportions of a gemstone involve the balance and appeal of a given design. The finish refers to the perfection of the workmanship. A well-proportioned gem will show off the stone's optical properties to its fullest potential.

When all other factors of a gem are even (color, clarity and weight), a well-cut stone will be move valuable.


The various combinations of color, clarity, cut, and carat weight are the primary factors in determining the value of a gemstone but one also has to consider the abundance of a particular gem type, the accessibility of the geographic location where it is mined and the economic and political environments of the regions where the games are located.

The finest blue sapphire in the world comes from the mountains of Kashmir...but these sapphires haven't been mined for almost 100 years. And because of geographical inaccessibility and political unrest, won't be mined anytime sooner, if ever.

Fine tourmaline and the best lapis lazuli come from Afghanistan, but none has reached commercial markets since the beginning of the war. The best ruby, from Burma (Myanmar), is not currently imported into the United States because of a trade embargo. There are many situation like this that make certain gemstones difficult or virtually impossible to attain making their rarity and value increase exponentially.

January ~ Garnet

Garnet - January
Friendships can be perceived as an array of colors to symbolize love, laughter, joy, healing and pain. Garnet, the birthstone of January 
holds these treasures true. Just as friendships are ever changing, garnet is the perfect birthday gift for a friend to signify eternal friendship and trust.

Garnet, derived from the word "granatum" means seed, because of the gem’s resemblance to a pomegranate seed. They date back to 3100 B.C., when Egyptians would inlay them in jewelry. In the late 19th century, over half of the merchandise displayed in jewelry stores consisted of various types of garnet.

Garnet is the name of a group of minerals that comes in a virtual rainbow of colors, from the deep red of the pyrope to the vibrant green of tsavorites. Each type of garnet varies in composition, hardness and mineralogical classifications. Today, these gems are mined in Tanzania, Sri Lanka and India and are said to be the gemstone of the future.

February ~ Amethyst

Amethyst - February
In celebration of a February birthday one may chose to have a few drinks with friends. The perfect accompaniment to a cocktail is the gemstone amethyst, known by ancient Greeks and Romans to ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus, the God of Wine. 

The gemstone, acknowledged in the past intended to prevent drunkenness, is also said to keep the wearer clear-headed and quick-witted.

Clergymen wore amethyst with the belief that it brought emotional balance, while British regalia were decorated with amethyst during the Middle Ages as a symbol of royalty. It has been associated with many myths, legends, religion and numerous cultures.

Amethyst is a purple quartz, a beautiful blend of violet and red that can found in every cornerof the earth. Historically, the finest amethyst originated in Russia, which were consequently featured in much royal European jewelry, however today Africa is considered the prized source.

Whether you want be protected from the effects of alcohol, or give a gift of historical value, amethyst is the perfect choice.

March ~ Aquamarine

Aquamarine - March
The birthstone of March is aquamarine. Named by the Romans about 2,000 years ago, its name is derived from the Latin word aqua, meaning "water," and marina, meaning "sea". This stone was known to protect sailors, as well as guarantee a safe voyage.

The serene color of aquamarine is known to cool the temper, allowing the wearer to remain calm and levelheaded. Its color suggests coolness and often is worn in spring and summer. Colors range from greenish blue to blue-green in light tones. The color is usually more intense in larger stones.

Aquamarine's sales have been weakest in the United States due to the use of blue topaz as a lower priced substitute. It is found mainly in Brazil, and also in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan and Mozambique. Elsewhere in the world, the demand for this stone has not faltered. In countries abroad, consumers are looking for lasting value and long-term appreciation. Aquamarine has held its value throughout decades, making it a wise investment and a strong asset.

April ~ Diamond

Diamond - April
Observe a woman’s eyes as they sparkle and dance at the sight of a diamond. As the April birthstone, diamonds are the ideal gift for a loved one, but now you can make a shift from the traditional diamond. Get creative and give the ultimate gift of beauty: a fancy-colored diamond.

Fancy-colored diamonds are a natural, rare and truly exotic gem
of the Earth. Colors range in intensity from faint to vivid in yellow, 
red, pink, blue and green. The more saturated the color, the 
higher the value. In fact, a diamond sparkling with intense 
color is so rare that it can be valued higher than a colorless
diamond. It is estimated that only one out of every 10,000 natural
diamonds is fancy-colored.

When purchasing a fancy-colored diamond, shoppers should ask if any enhancements or treatments were used to improve its color and/or clarity.

Whatever your preference: vibrant, eccentric, or classic, we have the diamond to brighten your loved one’s birthday.

We strive to make diamond shopping a happy experience. So often now the natural and unique beauty of a diamond is compromised by its having been made into a commodity. We will explain how a diamond's unique characteristics relate to its rarity and price.

May ~ Emerald

Emerald - May
Vibrantly colored emeralds often have the ability to lift one’s spirit on sight. As the birthstone of May, emerald is believed to empower the owner with foresight into the future, good fortune, youth and rebirth. Make this quintessential green gem the birthday gift to treasure.

Emerald, derived from the word “smaragdus,” meaning green in Greek, was mined in Egypt as early as 330 BC. Today,  most of the world’s emeralds are mined in Colombia, Brazil and Zambia.

The availability of high-quality emerald is limited. Consequently,
treatments to improve clarity are regularly performed.

In caring for emeralds, clean with warm, soapy water and avoid ultrasonic cleaners. Visit your AGS jeweler often to be assured your gemstones are secure in their settings.

June ~ Pearl

Pearl - June
Pearl was among the favorite gem materials of the Roman Empire. In Tudor England, the 1500s were known as "the pearl age". On his 3rd voyage to the Americas, Columbus kept his discovery of Pearls in the New World a secret, and he fell out of favor with the King of Spain. In the Orient pearl powders are sold as an aphrodisiac. For medicinal use Pearls are composed of calcium carbonate, an essential supplement for promoting strong bones and teeth, as well as the prime ingredient in stomach antacids. Pearls are unique in that they are the only gem of the sea from living creatures requiring no faceting or polishingto reveal their natural beauty. In the early 1900s the first  successful commercial culturing of round pearls began.

Since the 1920s cultured pearls have almost completely replaced natural pearls in the market.

July ~ Ruby

Ruby - July
Fire engine red equates passion and love. And there’s no better way to demonstrate your love than by giving a ruby to your loved one in celebration of a July birthday. Rubies scintillate the senses, stir the imagination and are said to guarantee health, wisdom,
wealth and success in love. Heat up this July by bestowing a brilliant ruby.

Ruby is a variety of the gem species, corundum. It is harder than any natural gem except diamond, which means a ruby is durable enough for everyday wear. Fine-quality ruby is extremely rare and the color of the gem is most important to its value. The finest color is a medium or medium dark, vivid, red or slightly purplish red. If the gem is too light, or has too much purple or orange, it will merely be called a fancy-color sapphire.

Rubies have commanded the highest prices for a colored gem, but if red is your color and you are budget-minded, you have numerous alternatives. Spinel, tourmaline, almandite, pyrope or rhodolite garnets, all have fascinating hues to illuminate fire and passion.

August ~ Peridot

Peridot - August
Let peridot, known as “the gem of the sun,” shed light on your dearly loved one’s birthday. As the birthstone of August, peridot is said to host magical powers and healing properties. Give the gift that shines with enthusiasm and is said to bring the wearer power, influence and a wonderful year.

Peridot is a gemstone that forms deep inside the Earth and is brought to the surface by volcanoes. In Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, the goddess of the volcano. Peridot is often used in healing ceremonies by Hawaiian Kahunas.

Today, the majority of the peridot supply comes from Arizona, yet it is also mined in China, Myanmar and Pakistan. This gemstone comes in several color variations ranging from yellowish green to brown, but most consumers are attracted to the bright lime greens and olive greens. Peridot, in smaller sizes, is often used in beaded necklaces and bracelets.

September ~ Sapphire

Sapphire - September
Adorn your loved one with the September birthstone, sapphire, which according to lore will protect her from envy and harm.

Sapphires have had a powerful affect since the Middle Ages. The clergy wore sapphires to symbolize Heaven, while commoners thought the gem attracted heavenly blessings. Blue sapphires range from very light to very dark greenish or violetish blue, as well as various shades of pure blue. The most prized colors would be a medium to medium dark blue or slightly violetish blue.

Sapphire is a variety of the gem species, corundum, and not only
occurs in blue, but in all colors of the rainbow. Pink, purple, green, 
orange or yellow sapphires are known as fancy-colored sapphires. But, when they are red, they are known as rubies. For the customer that wants something out of the ordinary, a fancy-color sapphire creates excitement in every color.

October ~ Opal & Tourmaline

Opal & Tourmaline - October
The name opal was derived from the Greek, "Opallos," meaning to see a change(of color). The opal (right in picture) captures images within the depths of its sparkling brilliance. The mystical prism of colors intrigues many and some believe that the mysteries of love can be exchanged through this enchanting gem.

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. The opal is a formation of non-crystalline silica gel. This gel 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 the radiance of the opal.

White opal can best be described as a translucent to semitranslucent gemstone that displays an array of colors against a white or light gray body color. The main source of white opal is found in Australia and Brazil. Black opal can be described as a translucent to opaque gemstone that displays a variety of colors against a black or other dark color. The main source of black opal is found in Australia. Fire opal is transparent to translucent gemstone that displays brown, yellow, orange or red color. This gemstone does not show an array of colors within it. It is often referred to as Mexican opal, gold opal or sun opal. The main source of fire opal is found in Mexico. 

Tourmaline is also a birthstone for October (left in picture).
Tourmaline has become a favorite gemstone among jewelry designers, and gem collectors the world over. Since it is available in a wide variety of color shades, it is ideally suited to almost anyone's taste. Tourmaline has also been used in science, as it possesses unique properties of Piezoelectricity (can develop an electrical vibration) and Pyroelectric (will develop an electrical charge when heated) The Dutch called Tourmaline "ashentrekers" for they used the gem 
crystals to draw ashes from their pipes. Comes from the Singhalese word "Turmali" meaning mixed precious stones of many colors.

Tourmaline comes in the widest array of colors of any colored gemstone. The most valuable shades include the vibrant "Paraiba" in greenish Blue hues, to deep rich greens reminiscent of Emerald, to Pink, Purple, Orange, and Yellow, with many shades in between. Tourmaline is also known for displaying several colors in the same gem such as "bi-color" or "tri-color" gems, and even what is called "watermelon" with green and pink hues in combination, cut into thin slices. Tourmaline is found in many localities namely Brazil, Afghanistan, East Africa and the USA. 

November ~ Citrine & Topaz

Citrine & Topaz - November
Citrine (right), the birthstone of November is recognized as the healing quartz. This golden gemstone supports vitality and health, encouraging and guiding hope, energy and warmth within the wearer. While citrine supports warmth of the soul, it can also 
brighten and heat up your wardrobe this fall season.

The name citrine is derived from the French word "citron," meaning lemon. Most citrine available was at one time amethyst. In forming citrine, the gemstone is heated, changing its color to a brilliant gold. Citrine should be kept out of strong light or heat to preserve its color to last many generations.

Citrine can be found in a variety of shades ranging from pastel yellow to orange. It is one of the most affordable of gemstones and plentiful in nature. Citrine is found most frequently in Brazil, Bolivia and Spain. In ancient times, citrine was carried as protection against snakes and evil spirits and thoughts.

Topaz is a gemstone available in a rich rainbow of colors. Prized for several thousand years, all yellow gems in antiquity were called Topaz. This material has been associated with religious teachings representing one of the gems in the breastplate of the high-priest of Israel, and one of the foundation stones of Jerusalem. This lead much later to the present birthstone list we know today. The name may have come from the ancient isle of "Topazios" in the Red Sea, or from the Sanskrit word meaning "Fire". Often confused with the Quartz 
Varieties: Citrine (Yellow) and Smoky (Brown). Quartz and 
Topaz are not related species.

The most valuable Topaz is called "Imperial", after the
Russian Czars of the 1800's, and features a magnificent 
Orange body color, with pinkish Red undertones. Topaz also
comes in Yellow, Pink, Purple, Orange, and the popular Blue hues. 

December ~ Tanzanite

Tanzanite - December
From the awe-inspiring grandeur of Mt. Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, Africa comes the discovery of a century, a gem so precious, so rare that it is found exclusively in a tiny area - tanzanite. Discovered in the late 1960s, tanzanite is the official December birthstone of the AGS.

Tanzanite, exhibits a rich, violetish-blue color, which the stone is treasured. Tanzanite can be less expensive than sapphire and is often purchased as an alternative. Today, tanzanite's increase in popularity has created it's own market and is appreciated for it's beauty and brilliance. Although, there have been wide fluctuations in the gem's 
supply and price level, due mostly to Tanzania's volatile political, economic and social conditions.

Tanzanite is heat-treated to achieve its color. It is carefully mined to avoid damage to the precious limited supply available.Colors range from blue to purple. One of the most highly valuable tanzanite is medium dark in tone, vivid in saturation and slightly violet-blue.