Emerald and diamond ring. Set with a total of thirty six round rose cutdiamonds in open back grain and millegrainrubover settings with an approximate combined weight of 0.30 carats, four to centre and the remainder to a surrounding row and to the shoulders, further set with a single row of fourteen channel set tapered baguette cut emeralds in open back yellow gold millegrain rubover settings with an approximate combined weight of 0.30 carats, all to a stepped marquise shape cluster form with lattice backholing and intricate scrolling work to the gallery, leading to a solid tapered shank. Marked 18 carat yellow gold with platinum settings, circa 1915.
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BAGUETTE Small gems cut in the form of narrow rectangles or tapered trapezoids.
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.
CHANNEL SET Rows of gems secured by metal flanges, with no claws or beads used.
GALLERY On a ring, the area below the setting, usually described as pierced, carved, swagged, scrolled, ornate etc.
MARQUISE Stone or item of jewellery that is essentially oval but has pointed ends.
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.
PLATINUM Platinum is the hardest precious metal. It is lighter, harder and stronger than gold or silver which it superseded as a setting for diamonds making finer intricate settings possible. Platinum was first hallmarked in the UK in 1975.
ROSE CUT A method of cutting stones dating from the mid-seventeenth century. The stone has a flat base and rises to a faceted pointed top. The diamond is cut with 24 triangular facets in the shape of a hemisphere. In all seven principal variations of the rose cut the facets are hexagonally arranged and the base of the stone is flat.
GALLERY The vertical part of a ring which supports the central settings of the bezel, which is often pierced or engraved.
SHANK The part of the ring that encircles the finger, not including the top piece or head.
EMERALD Emeralds are said to be the gemstone of good fortune, healing and fertilty according to the various cultures which have revered them over the centuries. They are a variety of the beryl family, coloured green by trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium, a family which also includes aquamarine. Beryl scores 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale of hardness. The word "emerald" comes from the Greek 'smaragdos' meaning green stone.
CHANNEL A type of setting in which stones are placed in a single row, side to side, within a channel of metal.
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'.
PLATINUM A metallic element prized for its rarity, whiteness, high tensile strength and insusceptibility to corrosion. It first became widely used in jewellery in the late nineteenth century, when methods were found to make it more easily workable. It features heavily in the delicate Edwardian jewellery of the first decades of the twentieth century.
RUBOVER A type of setting in which the top edge of the collet (band of metal surrounding the stone) has been made flush with the edge of the gemstone.