Khamagani, (greetings) from Gajendra Singh Chouhan and Shanane Davis
Welcome to our next post in a series that presents us, our brand, mediums, and our beliefs and dedication to the patronage, education and commerce in the ultimate fine, decorative and wearable art luxuries.
The subject of this post is the introduction of connoisseurship in a piece of jewellery.
Connoisseurship – the process to know in depth knowledge and understanding on a specialized subject, object, in matters of taste, aesthetic and etiquette.
Gajendra Shanane – By Royal Appointment – Jodhpur, India is committed to guiding and instructing our patrons into why an item is rare, beautiful and significant. When a patron acquires luxury from Gajendra Shanane – By Royal Appointment we desire for that patron to be able to see and know for themselves that Gajendra Shanane luxuries are rare, unique, and made with the finest of materials. Attributing these fundamentals in a luxury object or aesthetic takes a deep understanding and segmentation process of what one sees and understands.
In terms of luxuries many facets of an item must be separated to know that it is a true luxury.
Throughout history jewellery has been an utmost symbol of luxury perhaps the ultimate articles of adornment.
To understand fine gemstones and jewellery is a complicated process so
to help our readers better understand the connoisseurship necessary in jewellery we have compiled the following list in regards to the areas of a ring that should be carefully looked at during evaluation.
- The schedule. This part of a piece of jewellery is what holds a gemstone in place in any piece of jewellery.
- The gemstone itself set into the schedule
- The shank or area that runs around the finger
- The metal used in the ring
- Is the ring handmade or casted
- The design
In number 1, the schedule, the first thing that should be looked at is what type of schedule is it. The more common types of schedules will either have prongs, meaning single points of metal that are setting a gemstone or a bevel which is when metal fully surrounds the edges of a gemstone in the setting. The second step would be to run your fingers across the schedule and see if any area feels sharp to the touch, the schedule should be smooth without rough areas. The third step would be to look carefully and see if any small lumps of metal looking like melted drops are visible anywhere. If so these would be soldering marks and when easily visible is a sign of lesser quality craftsmanship.
In number 2, the gemstone. The variables involved in gemstone evaluation are great so for our purpose here we will go over the fundamentals. The first thing to determine is does the gemstone have visible cracks or fissures known as inclusions. This may be accomplished by using a 10 x powered loupe. A loupe helps replicate how our eyes see an object and as such is preferred for evaluating objects. A magnifying glass only magnifies and as such distorts how an object actually appears so should not be used in connoisseurship. To use a loupe accurately hold it in your hands and bring the loop up to either eye. Press your hand lightly against your cheek with your thumb touching your cheek while holding the loupe in your index finger and thumb and then look through the loupe without closing your other eye as this will also distort how the image appears. The next step is bring the ring, or any other object, up to the loupe until it is in focus without moving your hand off your cheek while keeping the loupe in place in front of your eye. This will help you determine if a gemstone is highly included and if the gemstone is set evenly and accurately in the schedule. Different varieties of gemstones have different amounts of inclusions, for an example an Amethyst should be quite clean without many inclusions under the loupe while an emerald would have more inclusions. The criteria for determining the level of inclusions that are acceptable in a specific variety is complicated and takes years of practice.
In number 3, the shank, the part of the ring that wraps around the finger should be thick enough to cause strength. If the shank is very thin is usually a sign of inferior quality.
In number 4, the metal used in a ring, many times can be checked by taking the loupe and looking on the inside of the shank as many makers will stamp the percentage of metal here. A stamp showing the numbers 925 would mean sterling silver or 925 parts silver from 1000 or simply 92.5% silver, the numbers 750 is 18 karat gold or vice versa and means 750 parts gold 1000 or simply 75% gold, the numbers 585 is 14 karat gold or vice versa and means 585 parts gold to a thousand or simply 58.5% gold, the numbers 920 and 950 usually mean platinum and are respectfully 920 parts to 1000 and 950 parts to 1000 or simply 92% and 95% platinum.
If no stamp can be seen and the ring looks high quality with a fine gemstone and great workmanship then the ring is or was likely a custom made bespoke piece of jewellery where the patron new the maker. In these cases a professional would need to be consulted to know what the metal is in the ring or item of jewellery.
In number 5, is the ring handmade or casted. The easiest way to determine if the ring or any piece of jewellery is casted is to look on the inside of the shank and below the schedule inside the ring. A uniform looking uneven pattern which is in fact various levels of the metal will be seen which is an indication the item is casted. When handmade a ring or other piece of jewellery will have a far smoother interior that is more uniform in surface and pattern, similar looking to how wax melts, tight and compact.
In number 6, the design is important in that a fine piece of jewellery should always be aesthetic and pleasing in its design to its wearer. In contemporary pieces this has become more and more a variable as experimentation takes place in design today many types of designs in jewellery are available. Our belief in determining an aesthetic in jewellery is you should love the design for yourself.
In determining a regional design form or period form in jewellery the study of various cultures and periods of interest to a connoisseur of jewellery would need to take place. These design variables include hundreds from around the world over the last centuries.
In our next post we will continue connoisseurship by taking further luxury mediums apart for our listeners.
Thank you for reading and we look forward to having you again as our guest.
Gajendra Shanane – By Royal Appointment, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India