Natural lavender jadeite jade bead necklace with diamond set clasp, circa 1950. A necklace composed of thirty three untreated lavender jadeite spherical beads measuring approximately 13.9 mm to 15.1 mm in diameter, one bead forming the clasp and set one either side with twenty round eight cutdiamonds in 18 caratwhite goldmillegrainbead settings with an approximate total weight of 0.20 carats, accompanied by GPL report #05674.
Natural lavender jadeite jade bead necklace with diamond set clasp, circa 1950.
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In reference to gemstones, a unit of weight, abbreviated 'ct'. 1 carat is equal to 0.2 grams.
In reference to gold, a unit of purity or fineness of gold and gold alloy, expressed as a number out of 24 parts by weight, e.g. '24 carat' signifies pure gold, '18 carat' 18/24th gold in the alloy, et cetera. Also abbreviated as 'ct'.
Originally derived from the carob seed, called quirat in Arabic, a seed of naturally uniform weight.
MILLEGRAIN A type of setting for stones in which tiny beads of the metal are raised to grip the girdle and so enhance the sparkling effect.
WHITE GOLD White gold is an alloy of gold and at least one other white metal, most often nickel or palladium, both of which act as a bleaching agent to reduce the natural yellow colour of the gold.
NATURAL Natural can refer to a gemstone or a pearl. A natural stone is called such because it has not been subjected to any treatments. A natural pearl is one that has grown through a natural irritant getting into an oyster, as opposed to a cultured pearl which will have been seeded with a bead nucleus.
Diamonds have been prized for their unique physical attributes for millennia. Formed of crystallized carbon, they are the hardest substance on earth. It is unsurprising then that diamonds have long been the symbol of strength, invincibility and eternal love.
The first significant source of diamonds was India, more specifically a region known as Golconda. These diamonds are particularly prized for their lack of impurities, resulting in colourless diamonds of supreme clarity and brilliance. Many of the world's most famous were found in the Golconda mines, including the Hope diamond and the Koh-i-noor.
From India diamonds were carried along the Silk Routes of Central Asia, through Turkey and thence on to Europe. It was during this time that Venice became a major diamond trading centre, with Bruges and, later, Antwerp at the northern end of the route. India remained the primary source of diamonds until the eighteenth century, by which time the mines there had been largely depleted. Rather fortuitously, around the same time diamonds were discovered in Brazil. This source, however, was short-lived, and ran out in the mid-nineteenth century.
But yet again, a new source immerged to replace it, this time one of much more significant supply. In 1866 a child in South Africa found an unusual looking stone, which turned out to be a twenty one carat rough diamond, now known as the ‘Eureka' diamond. Shortly thereafter, in 1869, the discovery of an 83.5 carat diamond-the ‘Star of South Africa'-confirmed the significance of the deposits.
The now famous DeBeers Company, founded by Englishman Cecil Rhodes, controlled all of the diamond deposits in South Africa from the time of its establishment in 1888. And so it came to pass that London became the world's rough diamond trading centre, as all stones passed through his London offices, while cutting carried on in Antwerp, and later Tel Aviv and New York. Today South Africa remains a major source of world diamonds, joined in the twentieth century by Canada, Australia and Russia, which helped to break down the DeBeers monopoly.
Though most people think of diamonds as colourless, diamonds can form in most any colour of the rainbow, including black.
GOLD A metallic element which is the most ductile and malleable of all metals, and impervious to corrosion, thus making it ideal for use in jewellery. Pure gold is yellow in colour. It is usually mixed with other metals, such as copper and silver, to create an alloy, such as white gold or rose gold. The unit of measurement used to express the percentage of pure gold in the alloy is the carat, for example '18 carat gold'.
An eight cut diamond has 18 facets in total and is reserved for smaller diamonds. The more simplified number of facets allow light to reflect in a soft manner that complements its small size and does not bombard its appearance.
BEAD SETTING A type of setting in which small beads of metal are placed at intervals around the perimeter of a gemstone in order to secure it to the mount.