Earrings – Sapphire & Diamond Drops
A pair of earrings each designed as a drop principally featuring an oval fantasy-cut¹ green sapphire² surmounted with a triple claw-set round brilliant-cut diamond in an S-shaped yellow gold setting suspended from an articulated bale. Employing post and scrolls and entirely constructed from 18ct yellow gold. Circa 2000-2010.
Details of the Settings.
Measuring: 22.15mm x 6.05mm.
Hallmarked: Birmingham, 18ct gold.
Sponsor’s mark: ‘OJS’.
Assessment of the Gemstones.
Cut: single tiered concave facet crown over similar pavilion.
Average measurement: 5.20mm x 4.15mm x 2.70mm.
Calculated total weight: 0.93cts.
Colour: light yellowish green (10GY.6/8).
Average measurement: 2.00mm.
Estimated total weight: 0.06cts.
Average colour: H/I.
Average clarity: SI2/I1.
Gross weight: 3.02g.
¹. Gem cutting was a strict craft bound by centuries of tradition. The job of a lapidary was to cut a gemstone to ideal proportions while preserving as many carats as possible. Then Bernd Munsteiner (b. 1943) invented the fantasy cut (concave cuts made on the back of gemstones). Many in the gem and jewellery trade didn’t know what to make of the fantasy cut. But the critics eventually became admirers, and Munsteiner’s pieces ended up in galleries and museums.
One of the most significant differences between fantasy cuts and traditional cuts are the types of cuts made on gemstones. Traditional gemstones are fashioned by placing them on a faceting machine with a flap lap tool, which grinds away and polishes the stone. Fantasy cut gemstones have grooves, optic dishes, and concave facets – all made possible by the development of tools to cut these design elements into gem materials (Anon, ‘And Then Came the Fantasy Cut’, GIA online publication, 2014).
Concave faceting comes with a whole new set of challenges since concave facets interact differently than flat facets. To begin with, there are a few principles to keep in mind when designing concave gems. Since concave facets are an arc, each facet is a range of angles rather than simply the one. The angle increases the farther you get away from centreline. Unlike flat facets, concave facets are limited by the diameter of the cutting mandrels. Simple scaling the size of a gem isn’t possible and mandrel size also needs to be worked into scaling. Concave facets gather and diverge light from a much wider range of angles than flat facets, both in the crown and the pavilion (Dalan Hargrave, ‘Concave Facets’, 2010).
². The green sapphire. Like the orange and other warm colour stones, this gem is so unusual in nature that it is a magnet for collectors. Once a natural green sapphire has initiated you into the fascinations of its secret depths, you will never be beguiled into loving anything less worthy (Vladyslav Y. Yavorskyy, ‘Gemstones’, 2017).