American Gem Trade Association

AGTA is an association of United States and Canadian natural colored gemstone and Cultured Pearl industry professionals dedicated to promoting the natural colored gemstone trade. The association pursues its aims through the combined use of educational programs, industry events, industry relations and publicity to the trade and consumer; while maintaining the highest ethical standards among its members and within the industry.

A member of AGTA abides by AGTA's Code of Ethics that is of a higher standard than required by the Federal Trade Commission's Guides for the Jewelry Industry on disclosing colored gemstone enhancements. Working with an AGTA Member is like having a gemstone consultant at your fingertips.

The AGTA Gemological Testing Center (AGTA GTC) is the natural colored gemstone industry's premier independent laboratory. The AGTA GTC serves the industry and the public with a complete range of services, including gemstone identification, origin determination and pearl identification. The laboratory is equipped with the latest, technologically advanced, investigative equipment.

The AGTA sponsors some of the most important annual events in the gem and jewelry industry:

The annual AGTA GemFair in Tucson, Arizona is arguably the most important gemstone tradeshow in the world. Fostering the promotion and sale of natural colored gemstones and cultured pearls, AGTA GemFair features an unrivaled array of gem materials as well as an extensive lineup of educational seminars and events. AGTA GemFair attracts gemstone buyers from all corners of the world.

The AGTA Spectrum Awards competition is an annual natural colored gemstone jewelry design competition recognizing the creative use of natural colored gemstones in jewelry designs done by North American and international designers. The Cutting Edge Awards is a competition that both acknowledges and celebrates lapidary artistry. Annually, the competition does a great deal to promote the beauty and diversity of natural colored gemstones and to honor the skill of the lapidary artist. Entries in the AGTA Spectrum Awards will be evaluated by a panel of distinguished industry judges on the basis of overall beauty and wearability, innovative design, effective use of materials, quality of gemstones, quality of workmanship, broad-base consumer appeal and potential to generate positive publicity for natural colored gemstones. Spectrum Award categories include Classical, Bridal, Day, Men and Evening Wear.

There are also two special divisions within the AGTA Spectrum Awards competition.

Fashion Forward Honors

Fashion Forward Honors recognizes the outstanding use of colored gemstone and/or cultured pearl beads in artful, trend-setting jewelry. All necklaces, earrings, bracelets or other jewelry that qualifies for judging in the AGTA Spectrum Awards competition will automatically be qualified for Fashion Forward Honors judging.

Manufacturing Honors

Manufacturing Honors recognizes outstanding use of colored gemstones and cultured pearls in jewelry appropriate to be manufactured in production quantities. All designs that qualify for judging in the AGTA Spectrum Awards competition will also automatically be qualified for Manufacturing Honors judging.

The AGTA Cutting Edge Awards honor excellence and creativity of the lapidary arts, including natural colored gemstones and cultured pearls, carvings, other gem materials and objects of art in North America. A panel of judges will evaluate entries in the Cutting Edge Awards.

Visit: www.agta.org

For more information sales@cornelishollander.com or 800-677-6821.

Choosing the Engagement Ring that is Right for Her

Engagement Ring

Find the perfect girl…check. Ask her father for permission to marry her…check. Purchase the perfect engagement ring…hmmmm. For many people – men and women – the task of shopping and picking out an engagement ring, which is a symbol to their love, can be an extremely daunting one. To ease the stress associated with ring shopping, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide, full of helpful tips.

Tips for Finding the Perfect Engagement Ring

  1. Decide Your Budget

Two months’ salary is typically what the average person is willing to set down on a engagement ring. The key is to make sure you are completely comfortable with its cost. You should avoid taking out a loan, dipping into your 401k, or racking up a hefty credit card charge. It’s simply never a good idea to start a new chapter with debt.

  1. Metal Type

Check your significant other’s existing jewelry, or ask her family and friends for advice, as to what metal type she will prefer. The options are limitless – you can choose from Yellow Gold, Rose Gold, White Gold, Sterling Silver, Platinum or Palladium. Keep in mind the fact that the price of the ring will vary depending on the type of metal you choose.

  1. Stone Shape

Do you know what stone shape she’d prefer? When considering shape, it’s important to remember that she will be wearing this ring 24/7, for the rest of your lives. It’s best to go with a classic shape to ensure it works with everything from jeans to formal attire. You’ll find diamonds in a wide array of shapes including:

  • Emerald
  • Square
  • Round
  • Oval
  • Marquise
  • Pear
  • Heart
  1. Learn the 4Cs

Let’s face it: Engagement ring shopping is stressful! But it’s also one of the most memorable moments you’ll have in your life. Before even stepping into a jewelry, it’s a good idea to study up on the 4Cs of diamonds – cut, carat, clarity, and color. Diamond color and diamond clarity is discussed more in-depth below…

When it comes to diamond color, grades D through F are going to cost you the most, as they are colorless. Colors G through J are near colorless. Colors N through R are very light. Colors S through Z are the lightest colored diamonds there are. While anything under a J is going to be less expensive; they shouldn’t really be considered if you’re looking for quality.

Diamond clarity should also be considered. A grade of FL means flawless. A flawless diamond comes with a hefty price tag. The scale continues down IF (internally flawless), VVS1 and VVS2 (very, very slightly included), VS1 and VS2 (very slightly included), SI1 and SI2 (slightly included), and I1, I2 and I3 (included). These diamonds are quite different in terms of quality.

  1. Ring Size

To avoid any awkwardness when you’re down on one knee, it’s a good idea to find out her ring size, preferably without ruining the surprise factor. The best way to accomplish this is take a ring – one that she isn’t wearing – down to the jeweler to have it sized. Try to avoid taking one that she wears frequently.

  1. Consider Going Custom

Going custom is less expensive than you’d think so don’t let the thought scare you away. Many jewelers offer custom jewelry design, which allows your significant other to have a one-of-a-kind engagement ring. With customization, you can take the setting from one ring, and stone from another and combine them together to make the perfect ring.