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Best lighting for new display cases


#1

A week or so ago someone asked the best way to light display cases
in a new store. I opened about 5 months ago and went with halegon
track lighting inside the display cases and then a metal halide spot
light at the ceiling overtop of the display (from the ceiling).

This combination of the metal halide overtop and the spots inside
the case really make your work pop and keeps the colour very true.
The website for the metal halide is www.econo-lite.com


#2

Hi Anne-Marie,

This combination of the metal halide overtop and the spots inside
the case really make your work pop and keeps the colour very true.
The website for the metal halide is www.econo-lite.com 

I couldn’t agree more. I’m now using just the metal halide without
spots (except for one case that’s on a different level from the
others). It’s an amazing light, and the Econo-Lite innovation that
spreads the beam horizontally over a long case is very clever. I’m
getting more and better light with the one metal-halide per case than
I did with two halogens.

Beth


#3

In addition to the bulbs themselves, pay attention to the ceiling
color and the light fixture. I once worked in a place that went for a
black ceiling with halogen lights(the old days!). The fixtures had a
black inside to the can. Guess what that did to diamonds. Sure they
scintillated pretty well but the stones were DARK. Made an F stone
look like M plus.

Halides are great but one thing you might not be aware of til you
use them is that it’s quite difficult to grade under them. Too much
light as it were. This is not a big deal when displaying but if you
have to inspect a stone it becomes problematic. If you’re dealing
with customers’ goods you need to inspect within their view.

My setup is fluorescents hidden in a wall soffit that cast a soft
uniform whiteish light upon the white ceiling and a few halides
positioned on the ceiling so that they do not mirror off the glass
into the customer’s eyes. Inside the case are more fluorescents. I
find the mix of lighting works pretty well to highlight details and
stones without casting shadows or altering color perception too much.

Oh and the halides will show every tiny scratch in the glass.

I found the halide bulbs online for about $75 each, they have the
ballast in the bulb and fit regular track lighting fixtures.
Comparable bulbs from a local distributor were priced at over 250!


#4
I'm getting more and better light with the one metal-halide per
case than I did with two halogens. 

Is this a type of light that is suitable for art fairs?

Noel


#5

I hate the lighting at indoor shows and no matter how many halogen
fixtures I have the lights still look bad. Would the person who
recommended the metal halide lights also recommend them for shows?
And, are they an improvement over halogen for stones other than
diamonds or other kinds of jewelry?

Grace


#6

Hi all,

I would love your input and expertise about lighting and interior
store colors.

I read with interest Neil’s comments about a black ceiling and
halogen lights. I was about to make this very mistake! I have a 14 +
ft ceiling that has been painted orangy-red. Down the center of the
ceiling is the heating duct…a very big round tube with air vents.
I am hoping to make this go away by painting the ceiling black.

What do you Orchidians advise is the very best for colors and
lighting for an old store about to become a new jewelry store?

Mary Ann Archer Fine Jewelry Designs
www.maryannarcher.com


#7

Hi Noel,

Is this a type of light that is suitable for art fairs? 

Yes. That’s exactly what I’m using the metal halide lights for. I
have two long-ish cases with one of Econo-Lite’s metal halide lamps
for each. Note that these fixtures are more than just a metal halide
bulb: they are designed to spread light in a linear fashion, rather
than circular. That’s why they work so well for long cases (up to six
feet), whether at a show or in a store environment.

http://www.econo-lite.com/one_case.html

Beth


#8
I have a 14 + ft ceiling that has been painted orangy-red. Down the
center of the ceiling is the heating duct...a very big round tube
with air vents. I am hoping to make this go away by painting the
ceiling black. 

I’ve heard that described as the “Urban Look”, by the realtor trying
to rent me the space! This look can be quite attention getting. And
that’s a problem for jewelers, or other kinds of merchants. You want
the people to look at your wares, not your ceiling. What one creative
merchant in that building did was to hang an expanded steel mesh
horizontally under the ‘hardware ceiling’. You could use other
materials no doubt but be very careful of fire hazard, check your
local fire ordinances. Maybe you could find material at a theatrical
supply.

Your jewelry will reflect whatever is above it. As mundane as it
might appear, a suspended ceiling might be a way out for you. They do
have some newer patterns to the tile. But here too you can run into a
problem, that of your showcase glass reflecting too much white and
obscuring your merchandise.

Just having a thought here, maybe install panels made of the
suspended tile over your cases with the ceiling black as you mention.
That would make the ugliness disappear yet give you a white
reflective base, so to speak. And it might create some drama in the
process.

Colors…whatever you choose make sure its consistent with your
store image. I saw a mall store once that was entirely(completely!)
RED. Probably red was the owner’s fav color but that does nothing to
address what they should have, displaying the merchandise in the best
way to stimulate sales. That’s what its all about…making sales. If
you have an overly dramatic space you will distract attention from
the goods. That is why most successful stores have a neutral color
scheme. Both diamonds and colored stones will stand out as the focal
point.

Try this…grab some of your wares and head down to the fabric
store. Try all the patterns, colors, textures as backdrops. You soon
see how a muted, flat (non reflective) stage reacts better with your
jewelry than exciting splashy shiny fabrics.

You may find that the tones and colors you like best have already
been done to death(because they work). So now its up to you to come
up with some neat little twist. Something that still shows the goods
well but also says to the client that you are original and different
without whackiness. Unless whacky is what you’re about.

You are soooo lucky to have a high ceiling. It’ll be a job to deal
with but the final product could be really nice.

One bit of advice that’s slightly off topic…since this is a new
store, REALLY watch how much you spend on it. You will need your
funds for operating expenses for that important period between grand
opening and when you develop a positive cash flow. Weeks?, months?
you never know for sure. You can always go back and make improvements
later on.

Opening a new store is exciting. Best of luck!!!


#9
http://www.econo-lite.com/one_case.html 

Thanks, Beth-- but the site doesn’t seem to mention prices. How much
do these puppies run?

Noel


#10

Hi Grace,

Would the person who recommended the metal halide lights also
recommend them for shows? 

Already answered in my reply to Noel.

And, are they an improvement over halogen for stones other than
diamonds or other kinds of jewelry? 

I can tell you this much: it’s a very bright, very white light. I
thought my colored stones looked great in it but your eyes may
disagree.

I don’t know where you live but maybe you could call around to local
jewelry shops, see if any of them use metal halide, drop in and see
for yourself. Also, I think (not sure of this) that Econo-Lite will
allow you to return their fixtures if you’re not happy with them. You
could ask.

Beth


#11

Hi

http://www.econo-lite.com/one_case.html

Thanks, Beth-- but the site doesn't seem to mention prices. How
much do these puppies run? 

I called yesterday. They run 200 a light. For what i need, it
wouldn’t be bad. I could light my booth for 400 dollars.

Thanks for the tip.
Kim
Kim Starbard
http://www.kimstarbarddesigns.com


#12

I attended a big medical conference in the Las Vegas exposition
center. The fire department came through the commercial booth area
and made the folks remove every single halogen light in their
displays. Said it was a fire hazard.

Rose ALene


#13
Thanks, Beth-- but the site doesn't seem to mention prices. How
much do these puppies run? 

Not cheap. Just under $200 each.

Beth


#14

After an email requesting more info I looked up my halide order and
so share with any interested.

Bulbs.com has halides for $75. For example…
http://tinyurl.com/ysmb5l

They have internal ballasts so you don’t need expensive track and
fixtures. Any compatible commercial track system will work. Don’t let
the 25 watt rating fool you, they are bright. They come in spot and
flood. I would have preferred a higher kelvin but it turns out these
work well enough, especially considering the price difference.

As far as the wide beam fixture units go (although I haven’t tried
them) I rather like the idea of multiple sources of light, you can
get more even scintilation that way and highlight certain areas for
dramatic effect, or compensate for ‘funny’ ambient lighting
situations ( i have southwest exposure which is a problem come
afternoon) Total cost for my small showroom was around $700, bulbs,
track, fixtures, wiring. Heck you can even use a wall plug and save
on the electrician.

No doubt about it, halides make your stones, color and diamond, POP.
Metals look natural too.

A word of caution. Don’t go overboard with it. I visited a store once
that had waaaay too much light. It was indeed dramatic but the glare
off the jewelry overpowered all the detail, in addition to hurting
the eyes after a few minutes. It became downright unpleasant after
half an hour. You don’t want your customers to feel like they need to
get out of your store. Remain focused on your objective, which
should be to sell.


#15

Hi Mary Ann,

I can’t speak for the decor in an actual jewelry store, but I can
speak highly of a black ceiling! For a previous work space, we
renovated the basement to make it nice to work in. Part of the
result was putting drywall up & painting it bright white (normally I
don’t like white walls, but it works in that kind of space) but in
the design we were wondering what to do with the ceiling. We didn’t
have very high ceilings, there had been a drop ceiling there before
(yuck) and there were plenty of ducts & things to consider. The
contractor had seen a salon’s ceiling once painted black & convinced
us to do that. Before any of the finish stuff was in (drywall,
flooring, etc), he sprayed EVERYTHING on the ceiling a matte black-
joists, floorboard undersides, wires, ducts, EVERYTHING. Then, he
installed several can lights, also painted matte black, up between
the joists. Everything just disappeared & the lighting was great. To
solve the issue of the top edge of the drywall sheets, we put
moulding along the top edge all the way around, painted the same
white as the walls. If a duct interrupted the line, we just stopped &
started again on the other side. It really helped to make one forget
what was going up at the ceiling, and just pay attention to the nice
bright studio space below. In my current space, I’d hoped to do the
same thing. I had someone install all new can lights & outlets (there
were 3 bare bulbs & one outlet down here when we moved in) and I had
painted all the cans flat black before he installed them. I bought 2
gallons of black paint to start (there was already some stuff in
here, so I didn’t want to spray), but the need to get the space in
use & then everything else in the world got in the way & now almost 3
years later I still have an unpainted ceiling, and wires & ducts &
such their “natural” color, but at least the can lights sort of
disappear because they’re black. I’m sure I have a picture somewhere
of that earlier space with the black ceiling, if you’re interested,
I’ll hunt it down & post it.

Lisa
Designs by Lisa Gallagher
www.designsbylisag.com


#16

Thanks Lisa,

I truly appreciate your comments and suggestions and it was exactly
for the same reasons of having things just sort of dissapear that I
was interested in painting the ceiling black, BUT… do you
remember if there is a problem viewing diamonds when one has a black
ceiling? do the diamonds reflect black, dark, fish-eyed etc?

Mary Ann


#17

Beth,

Here is a post from my blog GemWise on lighting of gemstones,
perhaps it will help.


#18

mary ann, Think long and hard before you paint your ceilings
black,i did this and the amout of light it took to light the room
was staggering the heat, electric bill, the ceiling was ten feet and
still you felt like the room was smaller than it was,i would never
do it again,but it looked great! Lisa McConnell


#19

I’m very intrigued by these metal halide lights for possible show
lighting. But let me highly recommend this same technology as used
in table/reading lamps for the home. I have a lamp made by
www.microsun.com that uses a combo of a main halide bulb and 2
smaller incandescent(or compact flourescent) bulbs. It results in
simply the BEST reading light I’ve ever had. The ballast is in the
lamp, so the halide bulbs are cheaper than what has been quoted
here- under $30. This company makes a ton of styles. They are more
expensive than a typical table lamp, but worth every penny.

Allan Mason
www.silvermason.com


#20

Hi Mary Ann,

do you remember if there is a problem viewing diamonds when one has
a  black ceiling? do the diamonds reflect black, dark, fish-eyed
etc 

LOL I really didn’t have to worry about diamonds. At the time I was
just getting started in metalsmithing, and I didn’t work with any
precious stones. Still don’t very often, actually. I would suppose,
though, that if something is reflective, it will reflect whatever
color is up there- white, black, reddish-orange, doesn’t matter. Then
it’s a matter of which is the least problematic, and I simply don’t
know. All I know is that for general use of the room, general
appearance of the room, the black ceiling was excellent. I wish I
could help you with the diamond question, sorry. Maybe if you want to
have the black ceiling, and it causes a problem when someone is
really examining a diamond, there could be a special area, or even a
sort of “box”, in which the diamond is set to really show off its
features clearly. Of course, if the black distracts from the diamonds
even looking appealing at a glance in the case, then that’s a real
problem. I never would have thought that’d be the case, but I don’t
have any personal experience with it to be able to say either way.

Lisa
Designs by Lisa Gallagher
www.designsbylisag.com