Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Bling, Maximizing the reflectance of stones


#1

Hello Orchidins: The last book I read was about half pictures
(“Diamonds” by Vicky Paterson) and I found that those pictures
stimulated a lot of thoughts and questions though I am still not sure
if one picture is worth 1,000 words or vice-versa.

She refers to the “bling” culture - how much glitter and gloss can a
celebrity display in a short time is the essence of it. So I asked
myself - How would you maximize the reflectance/refraction of any
stone? And myself did not have a very good answer. May I then ask
further here?

(1) On page 53 she notes that India specializes in faceting the
smallest of stones. Am I correct that 1 carat cut into 100 faceted
stones would bling more than a typically-faceted single stone? (ie
the amount of bling is directly correlated with the number of
facets).

(2) If that is so, what kind of bling would you get from a cluster
of tiny faceted stones set in a droplet of epoxy/resin/plastic? Has
anybody ever tried setting micro-diamonds in plastic-like droplets?

(3) How is bling maximized on stone (transparent or opaque) surface
settings? I have experimented with water, oils, urethane-varathane,
epoxy and a plastic-like substance on various stones. Does the use of
sanding and grits take the surface gloss above any of those?

(4) Paterson says that the start of diamond faceting is not known
but it may be Venice in 1330 (page 43). This surprised me since I had
read that diamond as gemologically valuable material goes back to
Ancient India. But she says that those people may even have
proscribed the cutting of diamonds. Why then would they value rough
diamonds since they are even more drab than glass? Did they gloss up
the surface in any way?


#2

Serious topic. To start with go to my blog on my website and read
design 1 post. You will find some historical references on enhancing
gemstone appearance. Second suggesting is to purge word ‘bling’ from
your vocabulary. It is a term used by less informed about gemstones
properties.

Educated people talk about total light return, which has 3
components to reflected light, refracted light, and scintillation.
Colored gemstones have additional considerations, but since we
talking about diamonds there is no need to complicate things. And now
I can try to give answers to your questions.

Am I correct that 1 carat cut into 100 faceted stones would bling
more than a typically-faceted single stone? (ie the amount of bling
is directly correlated with the number of facets). 

The answer is no. From the top of my head I can list a number of
reasons, but I shall limit myself to just one. A single stone is
possible to observe perpendicular to stone’s table. It cannot be done
with 2, 3,., and 100 stones. In situation of multiple stones, each
one would present different combination of components of returned
light.

(2) If that is so, what kind of bling would you get from a cluster
of tiny faceted stones set in a droplet of epoxy/resin/plastic?
Has anybody ever tried setting micro-diamonds in plastic-like
droplets? 

Very little. If pavilion of diamond is in contact with anything but
air, it changes critical angle and light simply escapes, invisible to
observer.

The total returned light will be limited to reflected light only,
which is quite small.

(3) How is bling maximized on stone (transparent or opaque)
surface settings? I have experimented with water, oils,
urethane-varathane, epoxy and a plastic-like substance on various
stones. Does the use of sanding and grits take the surface gloss
above any of those? 

You must stop reading your book and take on some gemological
studies.

There are many ways to enhance diamond appearance, but none of the
mentioned about will do.

(4) Paterson says that the start of diamond faceting is not known
but it may be Venice in 1330 (page 43). This surprised me since I
had read that diamond as gemologically valuable material goes back
to Ancient India. But she says that those people may even have
proscribed the cutting of diamonds. Why then would they value
rough diamonds since they are even more drab than glass? Did they
gloss up the surface in any way? 

Diamond faceting became possible with invention of diamond wheel,
which happened toward the end of 15th century. Prior to to that
stones which were not of octahedral shape, were converted to it by
cleaving. Octahedral shape was the pre-eminant form of diamond in
jewellery prior to invention of diamond wheel.

The true revolution in diamond cutting took place in the beginning
of 20th century when Tolkowsky published his manuscript on diamond
cutting.

Leonid Surpin
Studioarete.com


#3

A couple of things 1 native cut (done a lot in India) is designed to
give coloured stones a maximum of saturation- so their girdles are
thicker than machine cut stones. more colour looks great in most
stones that are faceted…

2 the more light reflected through any stone that is faceted the more
it sparkles. simple but true. even rose cut (the 'first" faceting
method" used in ancient stone cutting centres used that style a lot,
until equipment and math played into the operation then it got more
intricate- in fact some architecture was the inspiration for gem
cutting in India to evolve (read about the Taj Mahal and Shah Jahan’s
other palaces and you’ll get info about the evolution of gem cutting
in India that was taken along the silk road to other cultures through
the gemstone trade)

3 I wouldn’t set 100 stones in plastic and then into anything- just
my taste! but illusion settings seek to make a single stone appear
more …large, reflective, etc. same principle. so you may want to
read about illusion settings

4 you can’t believe everything you read in books. stone cutting,
faceting in particular, pre-dates Venetian cutting by a few thousand
years in India. India was faceting them 5000 years ago, Egyptian
civilization were cutting stone material before that…

  1. polishing evolved with the realisation that different grits of
    different materials, including diamond, tin, etc. produced a more and
    more shiny surface on crudely cabbed stones- that’s where Venice
    probably comes in combining what was known about angles in faceting
    and polishes. it was a centre of education and experimentation. and
    artistic freedom. then came the period of the Inquest. if one notices
    the jewels on imperial “wear” before the 15th c. you’ll see many
    rough cut gems, that were varied, and lots of pearls worn by Rulers,
    Monarchs, Popes/Religious, Habsburgs, etc.,…things changed after the
    Inquest. you begin to see more faceted polished materials worn by the
    upper classes as well as those that already had “bling”…There is
    evidence that Vikings polished stones that were thought to have come
    from Ceylon, and Asia. go figure that one out. Read on!..rer…

#4
A couple of things 1 native cut (done a lot in India) is designed
to give coloured stones a maximum of saturation- so their girdles
are thicker than machine cut stones. more colour looks great in
most stones that are faceted.. 

So the principles of “flashiness” (which may be a better word than
bling) are general to all translucent/transparent stones?

Do you or others know if there is a gemological rating of “overall
flashiness” (which might incorporate reflectance, refraction and
scintillation).

2 the more light reflected through any stone that is faceted the
more it sparkles. simple but true. even rose cut (the 'first"
faceting method" used in ancient stone cutting centres used that
style a lot, until equipment and math played into the operation
then it got more intricate- in fact some architecture was the
inspiration for gem cutting in India to evolve (read about the Taj
Mahal and Shah Jahan's other palaces and you'll get info about the
evolution of gem cutting in India that was taken along the silk
road to other cultures through the gemstone trade) 

Maybe you can talk to the wiki people then re the wiki, /Diamond_cut
because they say in agreement with Paterson’s book that cuts can only
be traced to the Middle Ages and before that only the natural
octahedral crystals were used in jewelry while anhedral stones were
not used in jewelry. But I am sure that there are museums/archives in
India which give a much better history on this than I have seen
anywhere. Any Indian jewelers here? I have never seen a picture of a
diamond crown for example, from Ancient India. If they cut diamond
one has to wonder how they did it.

3 I wouldn't set 100 stones in plastic and then into anything-
just my taste! but illusion settings seek to make a single stone
appear more. large, reflective, etc. same principle. so you may
want to read about illusion settings 

Well, I wonder about the blind culture thing. If celebrity A is
wearing one million $ in stones and B is using glass which is of the
same size and colour, how close do they have to be before layman or
expert knows which is which?

Any guesses?

4 you can't believe everything you read in books. stone cutting,
faceting in particular, pre-dates Venetian cutting by a few
thousand years in India. India was faceting them 5000 years ago,
Egyptian civilization were cutting stone material before that.. 

I’d like to see the pictures.

5) polishing evolved with the realisation that different grits of
different materials, including diamond, tin, etc. produced a more
and more shiny surface on crudely cabbed stones- that's where
Venice probably comes in combining what was known about angles in
faceting and polishes. it was a centre of education and
experimentation. and artistic freedom. 

Rough anyhedral diamonds are rather drab. I wondered if polishing
might gloss them up? Otherwise, again, is there a rating on how far
one can go with polishing to increase the “flashiness” of stones?
Suppose the stone is a faceted garnet. I have one here as it is my
birthstone.

If we are scientific about this, the facets (which look like diamond
facets) will increase the score on a flashiness scale and the cutting
will do likewise and overall you could sum the score.

then came the period of the Inquest. if one notices the jewels on
imperial "wear" before the 15th c. you'll see many rough cut gems,
that were varied, and lots of pearls worn by Rulers, Monarchs,
Popes/Religious, Habsburgs, etc.,..things changed after the
Inquest. you begin to see more faceted polished materials worn by
the upper classes as well as those that already had "bling" 

I don’t see anything wrong with celebrities (or monarchs) wanting to
look “flashy” of course. It just made me ask a lot of questions when
I read the book.

..There is evidence that Vikings polished stones that were thought
to have come from Ceylon, and Asia. go figure that one out. Read
on!...rer... 

I was gardening today in a slight drizel. There were a lot of small,
naturally tumbled (opaque) stones in the river sand mixed with the
soil. Some were very pretty with a little water and some sunlight. Do
you think synthetic polishing would do any more to make them flashy
than the tumbling plus water?


#5
your vocabulary. It is a term used by less informed about
gemstones properties. 

With all due respect there is a huge social-psychology to this
subject and I think she presented a good start on it in the book.

For example, there is the picture of the “diamond eye” on a jaguar
decal/painting for the Jaguar racing car (p 110). The Imperial Orb
(page 43) is a fine piece of non-wearable jewelry (like the Faberge
eggs?). On page 43 she also says that the start of cutting in history
is not known but she says maybe Venice, circa 1330.

People want to be “flashy"and"fashionable” etc and there is an
aesthetics to “glossiness” but I agree that “bling” sounds a little
crass. How can one be both "flashy and classy’? Queen E 2 has pulled
it off well with that nice crown but Hollywood stars are another
matter.

Off-list I got some good feedback on separating the criteria you
gave in terms of INTERNAL and EXTERNAL enhancers of flashiness. So
you talk about internal reflectance, refractance and scintillation
and then there is external reflectance and gloss.

With my limited experience I observe gloss on stones in nature best
after or during a light rain. But the light is playing on a thin
surface of water. I notice that epoxy, plastic-like chemicals, oils,
varathane and urethane all give different results and differ from the
water effect on naturally tumbled river stones.

Does anyone have experience with surface gloss and the very best of
tumbling machines? Can the synthetic, machine-tumbled gloss surpass
what you would get with natural river-tumbled gloss? Can it match
what you would get with the best of a plastic or epoxy coating?