Ring – Topaz & Diamond Cluster
A modern cluster ring principally featuring a yellow topaz in a four-claw setting, joined with eight tension-set baguette diamonds and 30 pave-set round brilliant cut diamonds in the shoulders. Entirely constructed from 18ct yellow gold. Circa 2008.
Assessment of the Topaz¹.
Cut: rectangular cushion mixed-cut (modified brilliant-cut crown with a multi facet brilliant pavilion).
Measuring: 12.09mm x 5.96mm x 4.29mm.
Weight (stone weighed prior to setting): 3.37cts.
Colour: dark orange yellow (7.5YR.8/6).
Assessment of the Diamonds.
Averages stated where applicable.
Baguette-cut² diamonds (16).
Tapering measurements: 1.45mm x 4.40mm.
Round brilliants (30).
Graduated measurements: 1.00mm to 1.30mm.
Estimated total weight: 0.57cts.
Details of the Setting.
Hallmarked: 18ct gold, Birmingham.
Sponsor’s mark: ‘AD’ (Anglo Diamonds, Warstone Parade East).
Finger size: N.
¹. “Topaz may derive from the Sanskrit word ‘tapas’, meaning ‘fire’, in allusion to the orange colour; alternatively, it comes from the name of the island in the Red Sea called ‘topazos’, meaning ‘seek’ (Joel E. Arem, ‘Color Encyclopaedia of Gemstones’, 1987). Although the blue variety is well known today, the historical colour was always a rich golden yellow which in 1768 the royal court in Portugal celebrated the South American discovery of topaz by asserting this variety as ‘Imperial Topaz’. Topaz actual has an exceptionally wide range of colours that besides brown, include various tones and saturations of blue, green, orange, pink, red and purple. These attributes give topaz a connoisseur’s appeal to it, as indeed Christies’ head of jewellery sales admits, “of the semi-precious stones, topaz is a personal favourite. The finest stones are a glorious orange red, the colour of quince jelly, and are extremely rare, yet this rarity is not reflected in their value. Topaz is a splendid gem material, which is hard and lustrous, and takes a particularly fine polish” (David Bennet and Daniela Mascetti 'Understanding Jewellery', 1989). Describing the ability topaz has of obtaining a high degree of polish is no passing remark. Although cryptographically problematic for the lapidary in other ways, the ability to sustain a bright polish allows them gem to produce powerfully strong reflected light, brightening the body colour and sharpening the appearance. Qualities which attract appropriate attention, “the glowing, fiery sparkle of topaz has always induced poets and aesthetes to make enthusiastic comparisons with the fiery glow of a rare wine. Agreeing with the words of the poets, people often associate topaz with a superb, clear drop of gold; knowledge of other types, namely, the wide ranges of sky blue and delicate pink tones of topaz, which are equally of enchanting intensity and radiant lustre. The variations of the glittering pink topazes easily cover the finest nuance of the pink scale to culminate in an unparalleled full and deep pink red that even surpasses the ideal morganite of the beryl family and its flickering brilliancy. Just as a slight admixture a pink peach is imposed on the rich, sunny shade of the gold coloured topaz, the reddish version is a lets a barely perceptible neon blue shine through. The blue topaz delights the eye with its fresh, radiant azure blues without. With its perfect purity of colour, without the slightest addition of green, it radiates it grace in its transition into the gradually dwindling colour of the colour list of pure white topaz” (Eduard Gűbelin and Franz-Xaver Erni, “Gemstones, Symbols of Beauty and Power’, 1999).
². Baguette (from the French word ‘baguette’’ diminutive of ‘bague’, meaning ‘ring’). Until the seventeenth century ‘bague’ stood for any type of small jewel; consequentially baguette meant small jewel (‘petit bijou sans valeur’). In the fifteenth century such stones were known as ‘hogback’ (French, ‘dos d’âne), and were in effect rectangular table-cuts, used in combination as ornamental gemstones to create patterns, initials or parts of larger jewelled iconography. Nowadays, the term is used to describe a long narrow gemstone and in particular a diamond. The facet design is a rectangular step-cuts, using as few as four brakes on the crown and eight on the pavilion with no girdle facet, but more often using at least twice as many facets. “Step-cuts are often made from octahedra that are elongated in one direction. The number of steps is unimportant, but to avoid ‘windows’ (the leakage of light through the pavilion), the pavilion the facets should be cut at greater than the critical angle of 24°. This is sometimes difficult, if not impossible, particularly with the end pavilion facet of an elongated octahedron crystal. As the pavilion of a step or square cut stone is deeper than that of a brilliant cut stone, the crown should be shallower, in order to make the overall depth about the same as the equivalent brilliant. A rule of thumb is that the width of the bottom pavilion facets should together be about equal to the width of the table” (Eric Bruton, ‘Diamonds’, 2nd edition, 1978). The modern era has seen wide use of baguette-cut diamonds, particularly since the 1920s when electrically powered diamond sawing became commercial practice. The prevailing fashion for geometric shapes, flatten sculptural elements, and a mechanised look suited the baguette-cut. Even the strong contrasting flash of light and sudden darkness seen in baguettes fitted in well with the aesthetic, making them an ideal choice as complimentary diamonds in larger modern jewels.