“Are My Old Gemstones Worth Doing Anything With?”
“Should I use my old diamonds?”
“Are my old gemstones worth doing anything with?”
These are questions clients often ask themselves, and then ask us.
The answer is quite simple……Yes!
Your old jewellery may hold sentimental values, it may have been handed down from loved ones, or it could be a gift from someone special, or simply hold fond memories. The value is in its being, not its cost!
The gemstones may be of a different quality to those in modern expensive jewellery, the old single cut and ‘mine cut’ diamonds compared to modern brilliant cut diamonds are a perfect example. As diamonds they all have value, some more than others. the truth is that they will have more value set into a piece of jewellery that you can wear and enjoy, than they ever will sitting in a drawer never seeing the light of day.
Looking at images of historical diamond-set jewellery, those of inspiration and fascination, it is interesting to note that the diamonds are often not matched to each other and may even appear quite dull. This is entirely due to the evolution of diamond cutting and a better understanding through constant research of the optical properties of the gems. In reality the quality of the gems does little to alter the beauty of the design and appeal of the jewellery
For an example of this concept, we recently had the pleasure of converting a collection of small single cut diamonds of varying size and quality, (all from different pieces) into a new pair of drop earrings. The design was inspired by classic teardrop shapes and was perfectly suited to the tapering sizes of the diamonds. Starting with a layout of the diamonds in wax to assess their size and proportions, the idea takes shape.
The design requires the diamonds to be set in individual settings with shared claws between them. This method of claw setting gives a continual ‘line’ to the overall effect and allow for slight differences in diamond size to be set securely.
These settings are made from tubing, called chenier and is made by rolling out the metal, in this case white gold, to a flat ribbon shape, then creating a ‘half pipe which is then extruded into a tube shape.
Here the ‘point’ is being fused to allow pliers to grip the chenier and extruded through draw plates to progressively smaller sizes.
The chenier, when drawn to the correct size, is cut and then drawn down to the next size.
The traditional method of making matching pairs is to make one piece and then split it down the middle. Here we see the assembled cheniers with the saw-cut ‘notch’ marking the division line, clearly visible.
……..and here are two images showing the design and layout with calculations and measurements. The single chenier is for the stud earrings at the top.
This image shows the cheniers for the main body of the drops ready to be fully cut and separated. It is at this point that the grooves are cut for the inner and outer claws to ensure that they match and are uniformly positioned.
First, they are cut into pairs……
….. and each pair then split into upper and lower bezels.
The claws are then soldered into place, fixing the upper and lower bezels into their correct position.
The whole process is then repeated for the top stud settings for the larger diamonds. The lower claw of which becomes the connection for the articulating link between top and bottom.
The earring posts are added…….
…..and the setting process begins.
The end result being a pair of stunning, classically inspired earrings.
So, as a thought, if you have pieces of jewellery lying around for whatever reason, set with gems of any quality, instead of waiting until you can afford to buy new jewellery with new gemstones, consider using what you have and have the piece of your dreams made into a reality.
We have demonstrated with this pair of earrings and previous pieces such as ‘Straya’ and the Topaz bangle, that we can successfully utilise stones of different type, colour and quality to create your heirlooms. Make it happen and enjoy your jewellery!
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