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Written by Kathy Jones On February 29, 2020.

This article is a reprint from AGS, originally published here.

For the lucky people with March birthdays, two birthstones are associated with this early spring month: aquamarine and bloodstone.

Both gemstones are very different from one another in appearance, but each share a similar symbolism of preserving or enhancing the health of the wearer. Learn more about each March birthstone by browsing the links below.


The serenely colored aquamarine invokes the tranquility of its namesake, the sea. In fact, the name aquamarine is derived from the Latin word aqua, meaning water, and marina, meaning the sea.

Aquamarine is most often light in tone and ranges from greenish blue to blue-green; the color usually is more intense in larger stones, and darker blue stones are very valuable. This gemstone is mined mainly in Brazil, but also is found in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique.

Like emeralds, this gemstone is a variety of a mineral called beryl. Large gemstones have been found all over the world, including one gemstone found in Brazil that weighed over 240 pounds. Aquamarine grows in large, six-sided crystals that can be up to a foot long, making it a great gemstone to be cut and polished in larger carats for bold statement jewelry pieces.

Not only is aquamarine one of the March birthstones, it’s also used to celebrate 19th wedding anniversaries. It’s a beautiful gemstone with little or no yellow in it, so it looks great in many settings with different colored metals and gemstones.


The second birthstone for March is bloodstone, a dark-green gemstone flecked with vivid red spots of iron oxide. Generally found embedded in rocks or in riverbeds as pebbles, primary sources for this gemstone are India, Brazil, and Australia.

Bloodstone is also called heliotrope, a word from the ancient Greek that means “to turn the sun.” Many believe it was probably named such because of ancient ideas about how minerals reflect light. In fact, some believed that the sun itself would turn red if this gemstone was put into water.

Bloodstone is sometimes known by another name, Blood Jasper, although it’s actually chalcedony, a cryptocrystalline quartz. There are two forms of bloodstone: one is more transparent (heliotrope) with red spots while the other is more opaque (plasma) and has little or no red spots.

For those looking for good-quality bloodstone gems, a solid green color with visible veins of red is usually considered the best. It also comes in many shapes and cuts, including traditional cuts like emerald, oval, and cushion.

Bloodstone may not have the overt beauty of aquamarine, but many value this gemstone for its symbolism and other properties.

Why are Pink Diamonds Pink?

Written by Brian Wilson On February 28, 2020.

The Gemological Institute of American (GIA) has published an incredible look at pink diamonds, and some of our more technically-minded customers will enjoy the in-depth look. If you are one of them, you can read the entire article on there site.

If you are less technical, and just want to enjoy them, we are reprinting the beginning of the article so you can enjoy the “basics,” and you can see the beautiful pictures of these phenomenal diamonds.

These diamonds are from the 2016 Argyle Pink Tender in New York City. Left to right: 0.64 ct Fancy Deep pink oval, 0.75 ct Fancy Intense purplish pink trilliant, 0.91 ct Fancy Vivid purplish pink oval, 1.30 ct Fancy Intense pink heart, 1.35 ct Fancy Intense purplish pink cushion, 0.80 ct Fancy Vivid pink pear, and 0.45 ct Fancy Vivid purplish pink emerald cut. Courtesy of Argyle Pink Diamonds. Photo by Robert Weldon/GIA

GIA Researchers Dive Deep into their Crystal Structure

Shown on the cover is the 18.96 ct Winston Pink Legacy, a Fancy Vivid pink emerald-cut diamond that recently sold at auction for more than $50 million. Winston Pink Legacy courtesy of Harry Winston, Inc. © 2018 Christie’s Images Limited

Natural pink diamonds are among the most valuable and rare of Earth’s treasures. Top, vivid-colored stones can bring more than $2 million per carat at major auctions. Such prices come from their rarity as much as their beauty – only a tiny percentage of diamonds have pink color, and only a tiny percentage of these have a rich, vivid color.

Pink diamonds created in a laboratory, however, are quite different from most of their natural counterparts. Manufacturers can’t replicate the way the vast majority of these fancy colored diamonds formed in nature, according to GIA researchers.

Employing GIA’s immense database of more than 90,000 natural pink and related colored diamonds graded between 2008 and 2016, GIA researchers Dr. Sally Eaton-Magaña, senior research scientist; Troy Ardon, research associate; Dr. Karen V. Smit, research scientist; Dr. Christopher M. Breeding, senior research scientist and Dr. James Shigley, distinguished research fellow, produced the most detailed and comprehensive gemological analysis of pink diamonds to date, published in the Winter 2018 edition of the Institute’s quarterly journal, Gems & Gemology.

How do you like your Bugs?

Written by Brian Wilson On February 24, 2020.

Below is the text from an article published by GIA originally here.

Amber with Mite Inclusion

A most unusual mite (figure 1, left) was discovered as an inclusion in an approximately 30-million-year-old [sic not according to the Bible] double-polished plate of amber from the Dominican Republic (figure 1, right). The specimen was acquired from the private collection of William W. Pinch of Pittsford, New York. The plate itself weighed 0.77 ct and measured 13.15 × 7.59 × 2.76 mm, while the mite’s body was 0.34 mm in length.

Figure 1. A mite with exceptionally long front legs (2.1 mm), as seen using shadowed transmitted and fiber-optic illumination (left), was found in this small 13.15-mm-long fragment of amber (right). Images by Nathan Renfro.

What made this mite unusual was that the longest front leg measured approximately 2.10 mm, disproportionately long in relation to the rest of its body. This type of mite, of the genus Podocinum, might be awkward-looking, but its morphology has survived millions of years virtually unchanged, an indication that it was just as efficient a predator then as its living counterpart today. Podocinum is a very slow-moving mite that lives in loose soil, feeding on springtails (Collembola). As it travels about, the mite uses its extremely long front legs to explore the soil around it and quickly snare any springtail that happens to come too close.

A literature search failed to turn up any other example of a Podocinum mite as an inclusion in amber, making this an even more interesting specimen. So while a small polished piece of amber itself might have virtually no commercial or scientific value, the addition of a well-preserved microscopic organism completely changes the value factor of the specimen.

AGS Laboratories Releases Digital Diamond Grading Reports

Written by Brian Wilson On February 21, 2020.

The following is taken from here.

Digital format serves as the official document. #AskForAGS

AGS Laboratories has announced the launch of their grading reports in a digital platform. The digital documents serve as an official grading report and will be formatted the same as AGS Laboratories’ printed documents.

“We’re excited to add digital documents to our product offering. Digital documents help us in our commitment to environmental management by reducing paper, as well as, reducing operational costs for everyone in the supply chain across a variety of processes: shipping, storing, and replacement of lost documents,” said Jason Quick, AGS Laboratories Executive Director.

The document resides on AGS Laboratories Only My Diamond® (OMD) so that consumers are getting the benefits of the platform, including an actual video of the diamond, a clear-cut explanation of the 4Cs, the diamond’s clarity plot, laser inscription, and social media sharing options. Previous versions of OMD had an online copy of the grading report, while the official document was in printed form.

“By incorporating the official digital grading report into the OMD experience, the retailer can present the diamond with a grading report that their customers will find both fun and interesting,” said Quick.

Another benefit of the digital report is that no app is needed: the document can be accessed through the Report Verification function on or from display cards in the store, which features a QR Code linking to the document. If a consumer, retailer, or the supplier wants a physical grading report, one can be ordered from AGS Laboratories.

The first digital documents are already in use by Helzberg Diamonds® for the Kalahari Dream® collection, in advance of the holiday shopping season.

To learn more about AGS Laboratories and the products and services that they offer, including the digital documents, visit or contact

Fascinating Phenomena in Gemstones, Part 4

Written by Brian Wilson On February 18, 2020.

The first 3 parts of this article can be found here, here, and here.

Continuing on in our look at phenomenal gemstones,
today we examine one of the favorite phenomena – Color Change This is part 4 in a reprint of an article from the American Gem Society seen here.

Color Change

A small number of gemstones display the color change optical phenomena. Depending on the lighting environment, the color change appearance can vary due to the shifting wavelengths. The technical term for this is photochromism or photochroism; “color-change” is a lot easier to say!

The best-known color changing gemstone is alexandrite. When viewed in sunlight, it appears greenish. When placed under incandescent light, it appears reddish. Other varieties of color-changing gemstones include sapphire, garnet, spinel, diaspore, and tourmaline.


On the website, GIA (Gemological Institute of Amercia), has the following to say,

Often described by gem aficionados as “emerald by day, ruby by night,” alexandrite is the very rare color-change variety of the mineral chrysoberyl. Originally discovered in Russia’s Ural Mountains in the 1830s, it’s now found in Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil, but fine material is exceptionally rare and valuable.

Color Change Sapphires

On the website, GIA (Gemological Institute of Amercia), has the following to say about the quality of sapphires as related to color change,

Figure 15. This 5.68 ct cushion mixed-cut sapphire showed a strong color change from grayish violet in fluorescent light to purple-pink in incandescent light. GIA

Color-change sapphires are corundum’s chameleons—stones that change color under different lighting. Under daylight equivalent (fluorescent or LED daylight-balanced) light, the typical color-change sapphire’s basic color ranges from blue to violet. Under incandescent light, it ranges from violetish purple to strongly reddish purple. Some rare color-change sapphires change from green in daylight to reddish brown in incandescent light.

When gem experts judge color-change sapphires, they describe the color change as weak, moderate, or strong. The strength of the stone’s color change is the most important quality factor affecting its value.

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