Introduction to Jewellery Connoisseurship

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.

  1. The schedule. This part of a piece of jewellery is what holds a gemstone in place in any piece of jewellery.
  2. The gemstone itself set into the schedule
  3. The shank or area that runs around the finger
  4. The metal used in the ring
  5. Is the ring handmade or casted
  6. 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.

Goodbye

Gajendra Shanane – By Royal Appointment, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

 

 

 

 

What is Luxury?

Khamagani – the greeting between Rajputs

Welcome to our series of posts 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 how we, Gajendra Shanane – By Royal Appointment ascertain what is Luxury.

Luxury – that eluding ideal for the special and difficult to obtain.

In today’s marketplace many companies and their brands promise luxury in either their products or services and consumer demand for acquiring luxury products and services spur ever more companies and their brands to promise it but do these companies and brands deliver on this promise of luxury?

Luxury may have a different meaning depending on an individual’s belief and demand so we at Gajendra Shanane – By Royal Appointment have set within us a working system on what we have confidence in is luxury and how to obtain it for ourselves and for our patrons.

Luxury at Gajendra Shanane – By Royal Appointment, it is a dedicated commitment to the survival and perusal in the conviction of products that combine the truest rarities in materials, aesthetic, and quality of craft.

Gajendra Shanane – By Royal Appointment has a five point criterion for our objects to be considered true luxuries

No. 1 – The object must have unsurpassed scarce raw materials, from sustainable and renewable sources

No. 2 – The object must have superior hand artisanal processes.

No. 3 – The object must have secret proprietary methods of production.

No. 4 – The object must have superior quality control in its craft

No. 5 – The object must have an exceptional aesthetic.

To patron and produce luxuries that combine and pass our criterion is a factual challenge.

All the luxuries at Gajendra Shanane By Royal Appointment go through  meticulous months and sometimes years of planning, sourcing materials and step by step quality control checks during sample production to ensure the product reaches a zenith where all five of our criterion are passed.

In today’s world many luxury buyers prefer brands to show and ensure that an item is of high quality. We recognize and identify with this so we developed a bespoke branding concept where although all our luxury items are one-off, and no other can be made exactly the same the Gajendra Shanane brand authenticates and marks assurance that the item is designed, produced, registered, and passes all criterion that it is one of the world’s rarest luxuries.

Thank you for reading our post, we look forward to having you again as our guest.

Gajendra and Shanane

Jewellery connoisseurship – an introduction

Khamagani – the greeting between Rajputs

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 connoisseurship 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 – 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 product takes a deep understanding of what one is able to see and understand when looking and feeling an item.

Connoisseurship is a step by step segmentation of what one sees and understands. In terms of luxuries many facets in 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.

  1. The schedule. This part of a piece of jewellery is what holds a gemstone in place in any piece of jewellery.
  2. The gemstone itself set into the schedule
  3. The shank or area that runs around the finger
  4. The metal used in the ring
  5. Is the ring handmade or casted
  6. 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 in gemstones. This may be accomplished by using a 10 times 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 looks like 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. Rest your hand on your cheek while holding the loupe in your fingers 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.

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 not stamp can be seen and the ring looks high quality with 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.

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 readers.

Thank you for reading our post and we look forward to having you again as our guest.

Gajendra and Shanane

Our first post on Connoisseurship

Khamagani – the greeting among Rajputs

Over the next few posts we will discuss 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 – 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 product takes a deep understanding of what one is able to see and understand when looking and feeling an item.

Connoisseurship is a step by step segmentation of what one sees and understands. In terms of luxuries many facets in an item must be separated to know that it is a true luxury.

For our purpose here we will be choosing different luxury mediums over the next few posts of ours to give our readers a step by step introduction in what connoisseurship is in regards to understanding and knowing different mediums.

Our first medium is on Balaposh – meaning quilt. Balaposh – is a specialized medium of producing a quilt in a proprietary method that uses no stitching in the interior of the quilt but only on the quilt borders. To first recognize a quilt is indeed a balaposh would be first to see that one side is made of pure silk and in different colour shades as the center of the quilt would be one solid colour separated by a different coloured silk piping and followed again by another coloured silk as the border. On the quilt reverse the border stays in silk and the center is of fine cotton.  Determining that a balaposh is made of silk requires a connoisseurship in silk as well which we will go into detail in a further post. To continue on the connoisseurship of balaposh you must close your eyes, ensure your hands are clean and dry and take a balaposh between your fingers and move your fingers back and forth across the upper silk material. In one direction a smooth slightly resistant feel to the fabric and in the other direction a slippery feel. This shows the silk is hand loomed as your fingers feel the difference between weft and warp. Keeping your eyes closed you will bring the balaposh near to your nose and breathe deeply. A musky wood scent from the essential perfume, known as firdous will permeate you. Firdous is coming from the South Asian tradition of perfume making and is in the category of perfumes known as ittar. All real balaposh has its interior stuffing soaked in rare firdous perfume/ittar while being made. It is believed that firdous essential perfume/ittar will cause you to believe you are warm and secure and as such in the winter a relaxing scent to fall asleep to. Next you will open your eyes and view closely that you can see no stitching from the piping to the center of the balaposh. If you can see no stitching you can ensure the balaposh is genuine and not an inferior copy. The last step would be to softly place one of the corners of the balaposh into your cupped hand and bring your palm and fingers together. You will feel stuffing which is made of cotton and is an even thickness, this also ensures the balaposh is original. If you feel slight clumpy areas or groups of stuffing you are sure it is a copy and not an original balaposh.

Thank you for reading our post and we look forward to having you again as our guest.

Gajendra and Shanane

 

Gajendra Shanane launches their new luxury organic EAU DE PARFUM – Sunskar

After 2 years of development Gajendra Shanane has launched their ultimate luxury artisanal perfume, Sunskar.

Sunskar means tradition within South Asian society and was born from a late-night luxury idea when Gajendra and Shanane sat having drinks in the jewel-like interior garden of Jog Niwas Palace in Jodhpur, India.  The evening conversation turned to how lovely it would be to develop the ultimate luxury perfume under their brand, Gajendra Shanane By Royal Appointment, India’s indigenous luxury brand.

Sunskar was created over two years using the rarest of sustainable natural extracts from the world’s hardest to find oils sourced from woods, roots, flowers, leaves and barks.

In August 2014 Sunskar will be available exclusively online at www.gajendrashanane.com

Only 40 limited edition bottles have been produced.

Gajendra Shanane – By Royal Appointment

Gajendra Shanane – By Royal Appointment, located at Jog Niwas in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, restores the finest of India’s pre-colonial arts to the nation’s and the world’s connoisseurs. On the eve of colonial rule, India’s fine and decorative arts rivaled the best in the world. From its perfumes, lacquer, paper, stone carving and jewelry to its staggering range of textiles famed the world over, India’s courtly arts depended on secret, labor intensive, ingenious processes that took generations to invent and perfect. The colonial era saw the demise of many of these arts as industrialization taught India’s buyers to settle for cheaper products that only shabbily resembled what its elite had once cultivated and prized. Few now understand the nuances that distinguish the finest hand loomed pashmina shawls, for example, from lesser-quality jacquard loomed substitutes, or can appreciate the level of thewa that India’s elite patrons and artisans once collaborated to sustain. A few Indian buyers still have an eye for true luxury that few others in the world can rival, but India’s luxury arts and the connoisseurs who sustained them are now rare. Gajendra Shanane brings this luxury back to the world’s most discerning buyers. India’s first true luxury brand, Gajendra Shanane is dedicated to reintroducing South Asia’s finest decorative and wearable art to global connoisseurs. Gajendra Shanane’s secret lies in a historically and technically deep knowledge of India’s artisanal processes, the fostering of respectful, informed, lasting relationships with a selection of India’s few remaining top-level artisanal masters, and a dedication to educating its clientele in the connoisseurship and acquisition of India’s most lavish and rare arts.

From the Pallava and Chola to the Chandella, Chouhan and Mughal courts, India’s nobles have understood loyal patronage relations with skilled artists and artisans to be essential to a healthy and prosperous society. In this society, beauty was a virtue in which all shared, not a commercial frivolity for the wealthy few.

Fostered by a sophisticated patronage system, India’s royal karkhanas (workshops) developed hundreds of processes to work wonders with silk, cotton, pashmina, wood, precious metals, gemstones, glass, terracotta, fragrant oils, leather, hard stone, paper, lacquer, and mineral/vegetable based dyes. Families invented world famous proprietary methods to ensure each generation would continue to thrive and progress unchallenged. But with the tragic loss of patronage in the 19th and 20th centuries, many artisanal secrets went to the grave with masters who saw no point in encouraging their sons to learn arts that were no longer understood. Gajendra Shanane is dedicated to reversing this decline to remind the world why Indian beauty was once celebrated as the apex of human achievement. Gajendra Shanane seek out traditional techniques and processes that have been lost, and natural raw materials that can be responsibly and sustainably sourced. The aspiration is turn buyers away from brands buoyed by a rhetoric of luxury towards a brand, Gajendra Shanane, that is socially and environmentally sustaining, that preaches and practices the high quality materials and workmanship which are the essence of true luxury, and that, in so doing, returns aesthetics to material culture.