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Imaging jewellery and web site design

It is interesting to note some recent posts on jewellery imaging
have been fairly emotionally charged. I understand that we all
come to believe that which works for us is the only true and
right way of doing things especially if our personal attempts at
alternatives have resulted in failure and even more so if there
is a general consensus amongst our peers.

I have no intention of arguing opinion as I believe the priority
of this forum is the interchange of useful however
I have to take issue with a couple of posts on this subject as I
do not understand the position being taken by the authors.

I visited the site of one of our members that featured some very
impressive enamel designs that had been imaged with a scanner.
This was as a result of a post that somewhat denigrated the
process based on an observation of this site.

Although a clear and erudite critique was supplied I failed to
see the problems outlined, even dropping to 800x600x24 resolution
failed to make these images lose the obvious representation of a
3 dimensiomal object. I sat and stared at my screen for a moment
and then it occured to me that perhaps the oversized 'thumbnails’
had been accepted as the discussed representation of this
process, indeed these images fitted the critique far better than
the ‘real’ clicked pictures could. This possibility was enhanced
by the fact that there was no invitation to see the full size
pictures and the ‘dead giveaway’ blue border was also missing.
This, to me, suggests poor web design and as many of us have
sites I think there may be a lesson to learn here.

A post on the use of cheap digital cameras (under $50,000.00)
intrigued me as I had been very disappointed with the results of
the real thing i.e. a camera capable of making a 50 megabyte
image. A visit to the site in question left my opinion
reinforced, I was unable to see any colours in the pearls shown
and reflections looked like splotches and stains on the pearls
themselves, not flattering as I am sure these pearls in reality
are superior to the ones shown on my site;

What I believe is important however is that there are those
immediately behind those of us that are experimenting, that
should be able to observe our results and make informed decisions
for their imaging and web site needs.

Flat bed scanning has only recently become a financial
alternative to traditional methods, but it would be a dreadful
mistake to assume that all scanners are created equal. 1200 dpi
optical 9600 dpi interpolated 30 bit colour scanners provide the
required resolution to show small pieces well but 3d imaging is
another matter, many scanners do not handle it well. I have tried
a few that were touted as suitable before deciding on the Umax. I
have built a cover box and have holding devices and several
types of backdrop material and have experimented with additional
lighting for pieces that extend several inches from the surface.
Subtle light shadings are obtainable if you hold pieces at an
angle to the glass and the direction of scan can also be used to
cast shadows in the desired direction. The scanner glass can
indeed be damaged by mishandling of the pieces in contact with
the surface, however a little care and there is no problem. I
have examined my scanner glass with a 15x loupe and there are no
scratches yet and I have scanned several hundred jewellery pieces

I do admit that their is no oppportunity for artistic expression
here and that any creativity you wish to display will have to be
in the piece, but then isn’t this what we are all trying to

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Vancouver, B.C. CANADA.

Hi all who are scanner knowledgeable. I wonder if you can
help me with this problem. I have successfully used my
scanner for flat items, covering them with a piece of black
velvet that makes them look as of they had been photographed
on the velvet. However, some of the necklaces I make are
very detailed, and have beads dangling from them or
decorating them. It is almost impossible to arrange them on
the scanner–face down, and get the various dangling pieces
to stay in place. Is there any way I could treat them as
three dimensional objects? Or any other way of placing them
so that I could scan them successfully. I tried actually
fastening them to a black velvet backsheet and temporarily
sewing down each dangling bead, but aside from being
ridiculously time consuming, it didn’t look very good. Or is
it back to the camera?? Would appreciate any ideas.
Sandra /ElegantBee

I have been “listening” to all the photography/scanner talk with
interest. I, too, have spent way too much money on very bad
photographs. I tried a high resolution scanner at a friends
house and went out and bought one. Problem is, it doesn’t look as
good as it did at the store. What settings should I use? What
resolution? What size? If this is an inappropriate question, I
appologize, but I am the original “friendly user”. I know very
little about computers.

I appreciate any help on this subject
Heirloom Rosaries

Try using double-sided tape, available at art and/or stationery
stores (it’s sticky on both sides, artists use for mounting
drawings to backing boards) on your velvet in small snippets.
arrange the neckslace or piece, tape it down,–oh, put a piece of
cardboard or posterboard, something stiff, under the velvet
before you start. Then lay another piece of board over the piece
when it’s arranged to your satisfaction. Holding it securely
together, carefully place it face-down on your scanner, then
remove the cardboard from underneath the piece, carefully and
slowly so as not to pull it loose from the velvet. You should
then be able to move the velvet around very very carefully on the
scanner to get it situated just so. Good luck.

Sharon Holt aka @bootsie

 Or any other way of  placing them so that I could scan them
successfully.  I tried actually fastening them to a black
velvet backsheet and temporarily sewing down each dangling
bead, but aside from being ridiculously time consuming, it
didn't look very good. Or is it back to the camera??  Would
appreciate any ideas.  

Now owning a scanner I’m not sure if this would work. but this
may be one of those “you cannot do that” sort of solutions that
would actually be worth a try… In essence, it seems to me you
need to be scanning or photographing your work while its hanging
in the vertical plane, right? So then. How about tipping your
scanner up on it’s side or end somehow? Then the necklace could
be held to the scanner glass, with black velvet behind, hanging
normally… Whatcha think? If the scanner only has internal
moving parts, not an external moving platen or something, seems
to me this should be doable…

Just thinking… Yeah, I know that’s a risky thing to do…

Peter Rowe


I have an associate who does pictures of her beaded work with a
scanner/photo unit at a national office supply chain. She
begins by arranging her work in a Riker mount. A Riker mount is
sold by jewelry suppliers and jewelry display suppliers. It is a
black tray with a glass front top, filled with a cotton batting.
She attaches the jewelry to the batting with “U”-shaped jewelry
pins so they jewelry won’t fall forward when the tray is placed
on the scanner face down. The glass front of the Riker mount is
placed on the scanner plate. She then has them make a color
"photocopy". The cost is $1-$5 depending on the scan and paper
quality. The print is on a standard 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of paper.
These sheets are placed in clear protective covers in a
portfolio. She shows her customers what styles and colors look
like, and it is easily portable. Because the Riker mount allows
full depth, she gets pretty good dimension with appropriate
contrast and shadow. Hope this works for you.

      Hi all who are scanner knowledgeable. However, some of
the necklaces I make are very detailed, and have beads dangling
from them or decorating them. 

G’day, Sandra; I think you might try setting up your
necklace(s) from some sort of a frame (I use so-called retort
stands as used in labs!) arranging the piece so that it and the
dangling beads hang nicely. Place your black velvet (or whatever
NON FUSSY background ) behind it and if any of the work is
translucent, light at an angle from behind, and also use diffuse
lighting in front. I use a zoom lens which allows me to have the
SLR camera a reasonable distance away, yet fill the view nicely. I
used a setup like this for my Hei Matau pic in Orchid Gallery.

PS: Bought home a scanner this very morning - all I have to do
is learn to drive the thing!

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(______ )       

At sunny Nelson NZ (in late winter, extremely early spring, but -3C
last night)

Hi Pam: I don’t know what to tell you, except to spend hours
trying different resolutions. Start as high as you can go, and
then start cutting down until you can actually see some
deterioration. Then use a setting inbetween for awhile and see
how it goes. When you set the brightness, colors etc. always go
from the one extreme to the other. That way, you’ll get a feel
for what the program actually does. You just have to feel your
way around. Also, call the store and ask them what they did.

Hi Gang,

A thought occurred to me (doesn’t happen often (bg)) as I was
reading one of the posts about getting items with dangles to
’lay’ right when trying to scan them.

Has anybody tried laying the item to be scanned on a suitable
background; then remove the lid from the scanner (yours does have
a removable lid, doesn’t it?). Now place the scanner, upside down
on the item. This might even work with the item hanging, as on a
wall, with the scanner placed sideways.

Guess I’ll have to get a scanner & try it.


Hello Pam and Mike,

I don’t want to come off like an expert at this as I am just a
stone cutter with a desire to image his work. I have failed in
this quest quite miserably over the past 25 years with a huge
array of photographic equipment, unfortunately many things that
work for jewellery fails for stones, for instance polaroid
filters will kill most stones and discolour others.

Opal imaging is a particularly tricky proposition and pretty
much all I am really interested in, this is why I scan, I can
image colour in opal rough. I can also have an 8 x 10 glossy of
that image in 7 minutes. I find that handy. My customers find it
handy too.

I hope you have a 3D scanner as this wil make a tremendous
difference to your images. Always scan at the highest possible
resolution that your available memory can handle even if your
required image is going to be small. I rarely scan an image
smaller than 100 megs. If you are printing the image with a 1400
dpi printer, the closer you can get to this number the better,
unfortunately 400-500 meg pictures can take a while if you don’t
have a huge whack of RAM. Paint Shop Pro is a useful addition to
your graphics programmes, it allows you to save images in jpeg
and gif (i.e.compressed) format. Ideal for the web. You can
reduce colour bits and increase compression checking the
degradation until it’s noticeable for maximum size reduction.
Also it allows you to resample your image to a smaller size. N.B.
the important word here is RESAMPLE, anyone who mentions resizing
or reducing an image is of questionable knowledge in this field.
Never use the resizing option to make a truecolor image smaller.
Try it you’ll see what I mean immediately.

Of course there are many things that a scanner can’t do that a
camera can and vice versa, for instance showing colour play in an
opal requires a movie camera, a scanner can do that, other simple
movies can also be made very easily. Tiny objects can also be
imaged easily, drosophilia in amber for instance, would normally
require a camera adaptor on your Gemmolite, trivial to scan

I have a small collection of implements that assist in scanning
and holding pieces also boxes for enclosing the scan area for
larger pieces plus a few extra lights for some special effects,
as you experiment I am sure you will acquire this stuff too.

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Vancouver, B.C. CANADA.

I am considering getting a panasonic camcorder that has digital
capabilities. Does anyone know if this camera will take
reasonable shots of jewelry? I am concerned if the glare from
the jewelry will show on the shot. We are not professionals and
want to use this camcorder to photograph bottles of chemicals and
jewelry for our website.

I appreciate anyone’s thoughts on this subject.

Cohler Enterprises, Inc.

The one thing that worries me about putting the beaded jewelry
on the scanner is scratching the surface, which is expensive to

just a thought.

good luck.

-amery in venice

Amery Carriere,
Assistant to the Director
Annenberg School for Communication
School of Communication
3502 Watt Way ASC304 F
LA, CA 90089-0281

phone: 213.740.0934
fax: 213.740.3913

I have scanned on 200 dpi. I guess the memory in my computer
won’t allow for more, but it’s ok. The pictures are pretty good.
I edited the photo at the same resolution and saved it in tif.
When I imported it into Frontpage webpage maker, it converted it
to jpeg. I lowered the resolution to make it a faster download
for the viewer. (The page maker software gives you a visual to
choose from to decrease the resolution so I don’t know what the
dpi actually is.) When I printed out a copy on my printer, the
pictures were smashed and mashed – very indistinct. Why is
that, do you think? I want to be able to print out little
catalogs for the customers who want something in their hands.

The first webpage was done by Catholic Online. When I print out
their webpage catalog of my stuff, it comes out just fine. I
can’t figure out what the difference is. Any suggestions.

Pam Aqui
Heirloom Rosaries

     I am considering getting a panasonic camcorder that has
digital capabilities. Does anyone know if this camera will take
reasonable shots of jewelry? 

Try in the ‘usenet’ part of the web. Also check
out and and look for
reviews of these products.

kathi parker (moonscape)

There are several issues that really haven’t been discussed on
this scanning subject.

The first is control over what the image will look like- putting
a piece of jewelry on a flat bed scanner really gives you very
little control over lighting and ultimately, the image. By using
a film or digital camera you at least gain control of the
lighting. Lighting your work well can enhance the 3D quality and
make it more attractive. Jewelry, after all, is a very visual

Film cameras have a definite advantage over digital cameras in
the same price range as far as image quality. If you blow up a
digital image to the size of a billboard, the pixels will be the
size of your head. Film grain is so much finer. Use slide film
and you can have color separations made for ads or post cards- a
scanner image is useless for that type of reproduction. If you
use negative film you can scan the prints at high resolution, use
them in your website, and in a portfolio
to show your clients. Photography is like a language- once you
have an understanding of it, it tells the world about your work.

I started photographing my work 25 years ago because it was too
expensive to have someone do it for me. Along the way a few
professional photographers offered critical advice and
suggestions. One good quality manual camera and lens will still
be working for you when your current scanner is in a landfill.
Think about it…

Rick Hamilton
Richard D. Hamilton
Fabricated 14k, 18k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography

    The one thing that worries me about putting the beaded
jewelry on the scanner is scratching the surface, which is
expensive to replace. 

Untried (I do not have scanner hooked up yet software probs) but
how about a thin sheet of sacrificial glass to lay th items on
cheap replace if/when scratched? disadvantages: distortion if
not good clear sheet, extra interface with air might create
ghosting, possible glare


Scanners are very good things to keep the designs recorded and
published on web sites. I am currently using 6100 C HP Flatbed. I
can scan all type of Jewelllery including stone studded and
beeded jewellery.

You just have to scan the image not less than 150 dpi or better
if scanned at 300 dpi (It takes time). Then to adjust colour
brightness and Contrasts upto the requirement.

You can get a better idea if you use TWAIN from Corel Draw or
Adobe Photo Shop.

For more please contact me

Shahzad Younas
email : @taiba

Hello Toby,

Of course the ultimate imaging for jewellery is movies, the home
shopping network has proven that for us all. Of course the
individual images that this camera produces are even more abysmal
than those made by a modern digital still camera, however glare,
reflections, the incredibly poor resolution and dreadful colour
rendition are completely irrelevant in a moving picture, the eye
is more than willing to fill in all the missing details and the
results will be very convincing.

Movies on your web site however need very careful design and
extra care. Never allow your pages to present this without yor
visitor specifically requesting it, in fact it is extremely poor
practise, also inconsiderate, to do this with any images larger
than 2-3k thumbnails. A good rule is to never present a page
over 40k, pages that are requested can of course be any size as
long as your visitor knows what to expect. Yes people do download
IE4 …amazing.

Capturing your images with your computer does involve a modest
expense in hardware and software, expect to spend approximately
double the camera cost to get started and have full editing
features and multimedia control, you will also need conversion
software and licence depending on the method you choose to
publish your work.

The publishing method can indeed be a headache as many formats
require special plugins and other software before a visitor may
view creations and the fickle nature of the average surfer often
means that they won’t bother or they go off to download the
plug-in and end up getting side tracked and never return. Mpeg3,
Intervu, Realvideo, Qtime, streaming video, shockwave or Java,
and then we can get into some obscure stuff, confusing…yeah
’tis a bit, how will your visitors feel. This is however the wave
of the future and a full mutimedia site will no doubt eventually
become the minimum standard requirement. Oh dear.

Although over half of my visitors are PC owners almost all of my
customers have Web tv browsers, I cater to these people, I resist
exceeding HTML 3.0 . Many sites exclude this browser completely
or make it too difficult for them to view anything. Default size
dark text on a light background is an unreadable hazy blur even
on a high quality monitor type tv, frames…hahaha

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Vancouver, B.C. CANADA.

Rick, I totally agree with your feelings on the superiority of
film over a scanned image. Both have their place but for the
truest reproduction and expression film is the way to go.
Scanning is great for fast imaging of some items. I must,
however, disagree with your statement about color separations
from a scanned item or photo. With a few clicks or the mouse I
can have camera or print ready separations in less than a
minute. With the proper software an image can be prepared for any
print job including billboards.

Jim Loveland

     I am considering getting a panasonic camcorder that has
 digital capabilities. Does anyone know if this camera will take
 reasonable shots of jewelry? 

I bought a Canon HI-8 camcorder about 6 months ago to try
shooting jewelry with. I tried it with the AI-Gotcha video
capture thing and the Snappy. It didn’t work at all to my
satisfaction. The images contained scanlines, or should I say,
had horizontal lines of some sort that produced a stair stepping
effect on diagonal lines that wasn’t acceptable. I paid the
restocking fees and returned the camera and both capture
devices. Recently I picked up a Kodak DC260 that works nicely
if I rig up close-up lenses. I liked it enough to keep it.

Dick Caverly