The Star in the Sapphire

Ever wondered how star sapphires get their stars? It's created by an optic feat called asterism, from the Latin astrum meaning star. For a star sapphire to appear, the stone must have spindly, needle-like inclusions of a mineral called rutile that grow and intersect each other within corundum, the mineral we know as sapphire and ruby (yes, star rubies are also possible!)

To cut a perfect star is no easy feat. After determining that a star is even possible, due to a sheen on the rough gemstone, a lapidary must find the gemstone’s optic axis, and then begin to fashion the stone into a rounded cabochon shape. High quality star sapphires are cut to center the stone’s asterism as perfectly as possible in the middle of the cabochon, and keep the points of the star of similar length. The higher the dome of the cabochon, the less the star will ‘move’ under a light source or when rotating the gemstone at different angles.

Snug in a platinum, diamond accented mounting, our Art Deco star sapphire ring was most likely designed for the stone set into it. The underside of the cabochon is rough and uneven to keep the rutile inclusions needed for a lovely, strongly visible star.

And, for a little gemstone bling, take a look at some of the most famous star sapphires, one of which is on display here in New York!:

 The Star of India, which lives in New York's American Museum of Natural History, is 563 cts.

The Star of India, which lives in New York's American Museum of Natural History, is 563 cts.

 The Black Star of Queensland, no longer on public display, is 733 cts.

The Black Star of Queensland, no longer on public display, is 733 cts.

 The Star of Asia, currently housed in the Smithsonian, is 330 cts.

The Star of Asia, currently housed in the Smithsonian, is 330 cts.

Egyptian Revival Plique Bracelet

The Bracelet-

Some pieces are amazing because they are comprised of incredible materials, some because they are  difficult to create, and some because they can tell a story about a minute in history. This is one of those pieces.

A little back story- Discoveries of ancient artifacts have strongly influenced jewel making and there were two great periods of Egyptian revival. In the 1860’s the French were excavating for the Suez Canal and discovered Egyptian jewelry. It was so wonderfully exotic and unique it quickly became a popular trend and was reproduced in all shapes and sizes. In 1922 King Tut’s tomb was discovered and again brought the Egyptian style to the spotlight.

This bracelet dates to this later period of Egyptian Revival. It is silver, and has hallmarks indicating it was made in Cairo, Egypt and was imported into Nice, France in the early part of the 20th century, presumably the 1920’s. The Pliqué a Jour enamel and the imagery is just spectacular and even better we know what it means!

All the imagery of this bracelet actually depicts King Tutankhamun and findings within his tomb.

Starting on the Left- A painted alabaster unguent jar with a crouching lion on the lid. This jar would have been used to hold cosmetics and was found in King Tut’s tomb.

 Bracelet; close up of cosmetic jar

Bracelet; close up of cosmetic jar

 Actual cosmetic jar found in Tut's tomb

Actual cosmetic jar found in Tut's tomb

The next; Tutankhamun & Ankhesenamun, wife of King Tutankhamun, she anoints her young husband in this image which forms the back of a gilded chair. She is the half-sister of Tutankhamun, daughter of Nefertiti and Akhenaten. The chair with this scene was discovered in his tomb.

 Bracelet; close up of Tut and his lady

Bracelet; close up of Tut and his lady

 Actual image painted on guilded chair in King Tut's tomb

Actual image painted on guilded chair in King Tut's tomb

The central plaque is of King Tut himself! He is holding a crook and a flail. They were originally the attributes of the deity Osiris that became insignia of pharaonic authority. The shepherd's crook stood for kingship and the flail for the fertility of the land.

 Bracelet; close up of Tut's sarcophagus

Bracelet; close up of Tut's sarcophagus

 Tut's actual sarcophagus

Tut's actual sarcophagus

Moving right along is a war scene showing Tut vanquishing Nubians and Syrians. Tutankhamun is in a chariot leading the Egyptian forces. This was painted on a wooden box also found in his tomb.

 Bracelet; Close up of war scene

Bracelet; Close up of war scene

 Actual wooden box in King Tut's tomb

Actual wooden box in King Tut's tomb

Lastly  a lovely Unguent vase. . Elongated vase flanked with floral openwork ornamentation, cut from a single block of alabaster. Presumably used as a perfume bottle which was also found in the tomb.

 Bracelet; Close up of perfume bottle 

Bracelet; Close up of perfume bottle 

 Actual object in King Tut's Tomb

Actual object in King Tut's Tomb

The story and the work make this just a wonderful piece of wearable history and we are lucky to have it in our shop. 

Black on Black

When an occasion arises where one must appear mysterious & intriguing (and we all have these moments), there's nothing quite like the elegant blackness of jet and onyx jewels to get the point across:

 Antique onyx intaglio set in yellow gold ring, featuring a miniature scene of Poseidon. 

Antique onyx intaglio set in yellow gold ring, featuring a miniature scene of Poseidon. 

 Extra-long Victorian drop earrings of carved jet with saw-tooth gold caps.

Extra-long Victorian drop earrings of carved jet with saw-tooth gold caps.

 Art Deco earrings of polished onyx with platinum & diamond embellishment.

Art Deco earrings of polished onyx with platinum & diamond embellishment.

 Victorian collar of carved jet beads. 

Victorian collar of carved jet beads. 

Say Yes to Wednesday: Unique Art Deco Diamond Ring

This ring is a stunning example of Art Deco craftsmanship, and features a 0.25 carat old European cut diamond of F color and VS2 clarity set within a bombe of diamond-studded platinum piercework. The shoulders of the platinum mounting are further embellished with engraved detail, and taper gracefully to a rounded band. Total diamond carat weight of the ring is 0.72 carats.

Currently available in the Gray & Davis online shop!

Would you say yes?