Monday, 30 September 2019

Glypticians - Unsung heroes of Gems, the gem sculptor

A black jasper cuff, carved in Panthère style, catches the discerning eye. It was the work of a glyptician, or gem sculptor, a highly trained artisan who turns rough stone or jewels into dazzling works of art.

The art of glyptic, using intaglio and relief techniques, is an ancient skill, well practiced among the Greeks, the Egyptians and others. It was used in making cameos, popular during Roman times and the Renaissance and again in the 19th century

Tourmaline fish by Dreher
Few glypticians are known to the public. Most work behind the scenes, hired by jewellery houses when their skills are required. The houses will not identify them.

The little town of Idar-Oberstein, Germany, two hours west of Frankfurt, has 500 years of tradition in carving gemstones.
Glypticians like Gerd Dreher or Manfred Wild made their names by crafting animal sculptures, usually for private orders. Masters are able to obtain the best raw materials and command prices that triple the value of the stones they use. Every material requires specific training, as well as specialized tools.
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Sunday, 29 September 2019

Violet Diamonds

Pure violet diamonds without secondary modifying colors are impossibly rare, perhaps even rarer than purple diamonds. The presence of the trace element hydrogen in the atomic lattice is responsible for violet diamonds while purple diamonds are caused by plastic deformation.

Some use the words “violet” and “purple” interchangeably. Violet diamonds are a distinct color group.
Violet diamonds and purple diamonds are two separate colors. Violet diamonds will appear more blue-grey to the eye while purple diamonds appear red or pinkish.
Fancy violet diamonds are assessed according to intensity of color, or a combination of saturation and tone. The more intense a diamond’s color saturation, the more it will be worth.

They are graded as follows: Fancy Violet, Fancy Intense Violet, Fancy Deep Violet and Fancy Dark Violet.
Violet diamonds of any kind are typically small and very rarely exceed one carat.
Natural fancy violet diamonds are extremely valuable. More valuable still are those that are a pure violet color without any secondary modifying color. Modifying colors tend to devalue violet diamonds, but they are still exceptionally rare and will always be highly valued.

The Argyle Violet
The Argyle Violet, a 2.83 oval shaped violet diamond, was the dazzling centerpiece of the 2016 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender. It is the largest violet diamond ever recovered from the Argyle mine.

Just 12 carats of polished violet diamonds have come from the Argyle mine over 32 years of mining.

The rough gem originally weighed 9.17 carats.

A ring containing the Argyle Violet.
1.57-carat, fancy dark grey-violet Argyle Alchemy from the 2018 tender.

The Argyle Liberté™ is a 0.91 carat radiant shaped Fancy Deep Gray-Violet diamond.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Tahitian pearl - Black Pearl

The Tahitian pearl (or black pearl) is an organic gem formed from the black lip oyster (Pinctada margaritifera). Tahitian pearls come in a range of colors and may contain various undertones and overtones of green, pink, blue, silver and yellow. The most valuable of these are of the darker variety. Tahitian pearls are unique. A true black Tahitian pearl is extremely rare, and considered one of the most beautiful pearls in the world. Most Tahitian pearls that are identified as “black” are actually charcoal grey, silver, or dark green.
The pinctada oyster, which reaches a foot or more in diameter, produces very large pearls. This oyster is sensitive to the pearl culturing process, which makes the pearls very costly to produce.
The Tahitian pearl is French Polynesia’s largest export, making up over 55 percent of the country's annual exports.The cultured Tahitian pearl farms are located in the blue lagoons of the Tuamotu-Gambier Archipelago, which is one of the five archipelagos which make up French Polynesia.

Monday, 23 September 2019

High Jewels of 2019

The realm of haute joaillerie is where extravagance knows no boundaries.

These precious creations are the rarefied world of luxury that demands the highest levels of quality and craftsmanship, accessible at prices that only the elite could possibly afford.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Kashmir Sapphire

The most famous sapphires in the world are from Kashmir, and they are extraordinarily rare.

New sapphires are rarely discovered in Kashmir, and most of the material that exists was discovered more than 100 years ago. Kashmir sapphires are highly valued because the best specimens have a superb cornflower blue colour and a sleepy quality (due to rutile inclusions) that has been described as "blue velvet."

Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, lying mainly in a valley between India and Pakistan. A region of great beauty, Kashmir was a princely state in the 19th century. It became a disputed territory after the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, when it joined India rather than Pakistan. The dispute continues to this day.

Sapphires were first discovered in the early 1880s, as a result of a landslide high up in the Himalayas at about 4,500 meters in the remote Kudi Valley of India. Between 1882 and 1887 the mine was very productive, yielding sapphire crystals of exceptional quality and size. By 1887, the original Kashmir mine was depleted.

Though a new mine opened briefly and sporadic mining has occurred over the decades, the majority of sapphires from the Kashmir region that are on the market today were drawn from the ground in the short life of the original mine.

By 1887 declining production led the Maharajah of Kashmir to request geological assistance from the government of British India, in the hope of finding more material. The British geologist found the original mine to be exhausted, and turned his survey to placer deposits elsewhere in the valley.

Exploration failed to uncover new sapphire. Over the years geological surveys were mounted and mining efforts undertaken during the three months of summer free from snow. But the marvels that came out of the original mine were never matched, and today the area is mostly under control of Muslim tribes.
Richelieu Sapphires
Sapphire earrings with sapphires of 26.66 and 20.88 carats; $8,372,094 ($176,106 per carat) at Sotheby's Geneva November 2013 sale.

Star of Kashmir
Cushion-shaped sapphire of 19.88 carats set in a diamond ring; $3,483,017 ($175,202 per carat) at Christie's Geneva May 2013 sale.
A 28.18-carat square emerald-cut Kashmir sapphire sold for nearly $5.1 million in April 2014. It achieved $180,731 per carat, setting a world auction record of a price per carat of a sapphire. The untreated gem is framed by 32 tapered baguette diamonds with a mounting by Oscar Heyman & Brothers.

10.33 carat Kashmir sapphire, $2.4 million in 2013.

The "Jewel of Kashmir," 27.68 carat sapphire set a new per carat auction record for sapphire on 7 October 2015, when it sold for $6,745,688

10.88 Carat Royal Blue Kashmir Sapphire Ring $1,550,000.00

Kashmir Sapphire of 42.88 carats. $3.2 million