Last updateTue, 19 Mar 2019 7pm

Diana Jarrett

The Story Behind the Stone: Trapiche, Gabeesh

There’s a funny little gemstone variety that is more science than simply cute. I’m talking about trapiche gems. Trapiche (pronounced tra-PEE-che), it’s endlessly fun to say. But when you learn how they came to be, it makes grade school science fascinating all over again.

The Story Behind the Stone: The Jade Riot

Seems like an oxymoron doesn’t it? Red and jade? Of course, we love the limpid verdant hues that made jade so coveted. Asian jade collectors can deftly express the subtle nuances that inform wild price differences in this lovely ancient stone.

The Story Behind the Stone: By George!

Jarrett CharlotteKing George III’s bride Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz shown with her jewelry suite.Jewelry lovers adore period or antique jewelry. Besides its often-storied provenance, vintage jewelry bears some important traits that all serious collectors covet; fine workmanship and originality. Today’s mass manufacture does not provide these quality characteristics, and jewelry fans can readily see that.

Period jewelry from specific eras are often collected as a set once people learn more about the time period in which it was made. One of the most popular antique jewelry styles is from the Victorian era. The name refers to Queen Victoria who ruled the British empire from 1837 until her death in 1901. This highly romanticized styling reflects the Queen herself.

However, Victorian jewelry motifs took a radical turn upon the sudden death of her beloved husband Albert in 1861. She went into a period of mourning from which she never recovered. So, her jewelry reflected this sorrow. All Victorian jewelry from 1861 onward was heavy, dark (like Bohemian garnets) and even black.

But there’s a longer jewelry period that didn’t reflect the tastes of just one royal person. This is the Georgian era jewelry. This era is defined as the period between 1714 and 1837 - and it was known for its opulent and regal flair. The Georgian era was named for British kings George I, II, III, IV and William IV.

Special techniques were employed in making these one-of-a-kind artworks that are often seen in original Georgian jewelry. Foil backed gemstones, which seem like a quirky addition to modern jewelry were used in an effort to add pizzazz to gemstones and make them sparkle better in candlelight at night - which was the only type of illumination at the time.

Repoussé which involved hammering out raised effects on metal to create intricate designs was also popularized during this time. Cannetille, was a name for a metalworking technique in the mid-Georgian period; so delicate and intricate it replicates embroidery.

Jarrett DamesDames a la Mode uses early artwork to inspire their Georgian-style modern jewelry.

There were so many expressions of artistry during this era - as you can imagine, since the period spanned over a century all told. World wars and political and social upheaval in Europe and abroad meant that most of these precious pieces did not survive to the 20th century. But that doesn’t mean that it lacks its ardent fans.

Modern crafts-people rely on portraits and various forms of early artwork from that period to study the jewelry styles and faithfully reproduce them for today’s market.  Antique jewelers occasionally come across original Georgian jewelry and usually have collectors standing by to snap up the best pieces. One trait that is consistently found with this period’s jewelry is its solid workmanship - that is how it survived to be admired today. Hand-fabricated pieces of Georgian jewelry are rare and costly - but they are certainly worth the hunt.

Award winning trade journalist and gemologist Diana Jarrett is a Registered Master Valuer Appraiser and a member of the Association of Independent Jewellery Valuers (AIJV). She’s a popular speaker at conferences and trade shows. Jarrett writes for trade and consumer publications, online outlets, her blog: Color-n-Ice, and www.jewelrywebsitedesigners.com. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit her website at www.dianajarrett.com, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter (Loupey).




The Story Behind the Stone: Spinel has its day

JarrettFor centuries, dealers relied on a simple visual test to determine what to call a colored stone. There are a couple of basic reasons for that; the foremost being that there were no reliable scientific methods of separating look-alike gems until the late 19th to early 20th century. To complicate matters, some similar color gems were found side by side in the same deposits or near each other in certain geological regions.

The Story Behind the Stone: The Markle Effect

JarrettCall it Markle Madness - the custom-made engagement ring Prince Harry designed for fiancée Meghan Markle contained two side diamonds from his mother Diana the Princess of Wales’ collection. Cleave and Company, Court Jewellers to Her Majesty the Queen helped Harry pull it all off. The center stone - looks like a 4-carat sparkler perhaps - is from Botswana, a sentimental reference to their favorite holiday locale in southern Africa.

The Story Behind the Stone: Glorious Green

JarrettDiamond fans are only beginning to appreciate that their favorite sparkler is produced in colors - naturally. While they are all mesmerizing - the diamond stories of how they acquired their color adds another layer of fascination to the mix.

Diamond Dogs

Jarrett dog main shot

Ever heard of the Boerboel dog? Me either. How about the slobbery, lumbering Mastiff? Now we’re getting close. The Boerboel, meaning farmer’s dog in Afrikaans, was a type of Mastiff bred specifically within South Africa to help farmers guard livestock and assist with other work. It’s also called the South African Mastiff. This distinctive noble creature has been a fixture in that part of the world for centuries. Male Boerboels typically weigh between 140-200 lbs., with females weighing between 110-140 lbs.