Gemstone Photography –
Every piece of jewellery is a work of art. Time was spent designing, creating and finishing each and every piece of jewellery in the shop. We do not sell mass-produced jewellery, so every item has a story and a history. Below are some photos of close-ups of rings or gemstones, and some thoughts about each.
Firstly is a 2.6 carat E colour transition cut diamond, cut in the late 19th century. This stone has a pleasing combination of a small table and high crown that causes a “Kozibe” effect, a phenomenon whereby the polished culet reflects through the eight crown facets. In the second image I have drawn arrows pointing at each of the reflections. This effect is often seen in older diamonds, and gives wonderful fire and scintillation, by increasing the number of virtual facets.
Next is the clasp of a French bracelet, circa 1920. The mark in the upper left corner is that of an eagle’s head, which tells us it is 18 karat gold, and was hallmarked in Paris. Beside this is a mark of a rhino’s head, and under both is the maker’s mark. In an ingenious system, the positions of the marks tell us that this piece weighs 32 grams. This allows one to tell the weight of a piece without a weighing scales!
Next we have a close up of a 3.9 carat E colour diamond. There is small crystal at about 8 o’clock, halfway from the middle to the edge of the table. The position (off-central), relative small size and otherwise clear nature of this stone makes it an SI1 clarity.
The ring is made by Boucheron Paris, and is beautifully signed inside the band. Testament to the superb condition of the ring, the signature is fully intact, not worn down or rubbed.
The next ring is a wonderful natural sapphire, circa 1910. Sapphires grow with the colour stronger in some areas than in others. A skilled cutter can facet the gemstone so as to minimise these variations for the viewer. However, if you tilt the stone to an angle you can still make out the zoning!
The next ring is an emerald and diamond cluster ring, set with four emeralds to each shoulder. To work with the tapering of the band, each emerald is slightly smaller that the one before, perfectly matched in colour and cut, and set into a channel. This creates a smooth sweep of colour, without metal setting in-between each emerald, a gorgeous effect.
Another clasp on an 18kt gold bracelet, the positions of the marks in this case tell us it weighs 94 grams! This system is unique in the world, and was used from the 1830s up until the 1980s.
There is no comment about the next series of photos, other than to marvel at the talent of the goldsmith! The drawing of gold into coils is know as cantillework ,and was popular in the early 19th century. It is painstaking, labour-intensive and extremely difficult, only seen on very high quality pieces which would have been the wonder of their time.
Going back to hallmarks, this is a French platinum hallmark. The symbol used is an Alsatian’s head, pointing to the right. French rings were stamped on the outside on the band, towards the back of the ring. As before, in this case the hallmark is in perfect condition, fully legible after almost 100 years, which is a strong indication that the ring was cared for and looked after always.
Next we see a few different rings, all platinum from the early 20th century. Most Victorian jewellery was gold, and platinum was not commonly used until Edwardian times. Platinum’s great strength allowed for intricate filigrée work (including cut out sections), and beautiful detailled engravings. Even 120 years later the engraving is fresh and crisp, as perfect as the day it was finished.
Unlike the earlier ring by Boucheron, in the ring below by Tiffany’s the maker’s mark was stamped onto a small gold plate, which was then applied onto the inside of the ring. However we still look for the same indicators of condition, such as sharpness, clarity and legibility. You can also see that the ring was made in Italy, and has a 750 stamp, indicating 18kt gold.
Lastly, an Art Deco emerald and diamond ring, featuring my favourite type of diamond cut of all, the French Cut (sometimes called a Historical Single Cut). Known since the 14th century, they are the successors of the table cut, the earliest type of faceted diamonds. They were extremely popular in the Art Deco era as they have wonderful geometric look, coupled with high levels of brilliance and fire. They are square in outline, with a square table cut diagonally to the outline of the stone. The tables in is image are not reflecting, which creates amazing contrast with the white crown facets.