Just to establish my credentials for participating in this list: Among
other things, I make costume jewelry using gemstone chips. I also write
magazine articles about subjects related to jewelry making. My web page
address is in the signature box. The page has links to three articles I’ve
I am branching out to fiction, in particular to a mystery story which
involves a pair of ruby earrings. I need some help in determining the size
and value of the earrings.
The stolen earrings were commissioned by a King of France, Francois I
(Francis the First) around 1530, so they are quite old. The rubies are
genuine Burmese rubies, not spinel or another imitation. Each earring has a
large teardrop (or possibly pear-shaped) ruby. The rubies are not faceted
(don’t think they had the art of faceting that early). I would like to have
them show stars (asterism) if possible, but it isn’t critical. I want them
to be pigeon-blood red. (That’s more important than asterism). I also want
them set in 24-k gold. (I’m not sure when they started making gold alloys,
but since these were for the king, I think 24-k is appropriate, unless 24-k
can’t be used). The setting can be plain, but I think I’d rather have a
filigree. The earrings are a real simple style, mostly because I am writing
a short story, and I can’t use up my word allowance with a long description.
I realize this was during the Renassiance, when jewelry was quite ornate and
opulent, but I still need to stick with simple earrings. I’d prefer just
the rubies and gold, however, if necessary the earrings could contain some
small diamonds or pearls. I will make up an appropriate name for the earrings.
I know rubies are fairly dense, but I don’t know what size to make them. I
am envisioning earrings approximatly one-half inch long–is that too big for
rubies? What I need to know is the size of the rubies in carats and the
value in dollars. I need this in current terms–I know carats weren’t
standardized until much later and I don’t know French monetary units. The
story is set in 1996, in the United States.
One of the characters in my story is a dealer in antique jewelry, and she is
going to make a statement along the lines of “The stolen earrings are the
xyz earrings. They were commissioned by Francis the First in the 16th
century. Each earring has a flawless ?-carat ruby suspended in a 24-k gold
setting. They’re worth $xxxxxxxx.”
Any suggestions will be gratefully appreciated.
Sandra I. Smith, Writer
"Mere ignorance of something does
not demonstrate its nonexistence."