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Photographing Mystic Topaz


I’m trying, without success, to photograph a necklace featuring a
large mystic topaz trillion. The necklace comes out great, the topaz
goes black. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated!


Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio


Tell me the kind of camera, the settings you’re using and the type of
illumination. An example pic would be great, as well.

Wayne Emery
The Gemcutter


If you are shooting in a photo tent, cut a pinhole in the side of the
tent and shine a light that hits the stone to light it up. If you
aren’t shooting in a tent, take a small mirror and reflect light off
of your big lights to light up your stone. Hope that helps. They are
the only 2 tricks I know outside of photoshop!



It sounds to me like the stone needs far more light than the
necklace, as is common. What I do (low -med budget) is polarize my
/lens and light sources/. That lets me cut the specular glare from
the metal and leave enough extra light for the stone. This also calls
for lots of fiddling with the light locations… You can buy
polarizing material as a sheet of plastic.

Good luck, I have some examples of this method on my commercial
photo blog as per the link below.

Daniel Ballard


I photographed a piece recently that contained a mystic topaz and
the photo came out fine whilst using a black background. I used a
photgraphy tent with the exterior light pointing upward so there was
no direct lighting on the gem. You can take a look at the resulting
photo here:

Hope that helps Beth.


-In photographing some stones- it is the luminescence and refraction
that your camera is catching- the polarizer will assist in cutting
down ambient light not from the stone- but at a 1/2 to full stop of
aperature of focus depth which may afect the glimmer from the

-Try a simple light source from directly behind the stone- to show

I have used a white LED flashlight as a backsource- then cover the
stone with a greycard- and calibrate for your cameras own flash.

-It may take several shots- but the covered stone allows the camera
to light forward to showcase the necklace- and the spot behind the
stone allows for light radience through the stone- I know the
refractions within the stone are going to block some light- but
bracket your exposures.

-Use black velvet or similar soft fabric with a tiny hole for the
flash light to come through to mount the necklace on. Hope this
helps- In the advent it does not- find a local community college or
arts program and find out if the students want to take a crack at it
for a self-study or project- you may be amazed at the results and
student work comes cheap, and can build lasting partnerships for
other needs!

-Be safe and enjoy the days!