Photoshopping Diamonds

Do any of you talented Orchid folks have any about using
Photoshop for enhancing the look of (specifically) diamond jewelry?

I have taken Charles Lewton-Brain’s photography course, read
lots of books, and finally can take decent photos of jewelry.

BUT, the diamonds in my jewelry photos look DREADFUL! They have
absolutely no ‘snap,’ show NO brilliance or fire. I am not trying to
make ‘dogs’ look good, only making well-cut diamonds look like they
really are.

They look like they’re not worth a nickle, although, in many cases
they’re worth thousands of dollars. I would appreciate any help.

p.s. Rhino plug-ins (which have recently been discussed) will not do
what I need, as I’m not using a CAD/CAM nor doing computer rendering,
only old-fashioned photography (albeit with a digital camera.)

Thank you,
David Barzilay
Lord of the Rings
607 S Hill St Ste 850
Los Angeles, CA 90014-1718

Hi Dave:

I have found a black background and a pinpoint light emitting diode
when aimed proper will illuminate only the diamond leaving the rest
of the shot in cloud dome

hope it helps

It may have more to do with your lighting or camera than photoshop,
but two things that are helpful in photoshop are the auto levels/auto
contrast functions under adjust menu, I think, and the variations
option after you have tried the auto levels/contrast. Beyond that,
there’s a limit as to what you can do w/out ‘altering’ the image too
much. Does your camera have a macro or super macro lense? That
allows for better depth and detail on close ups.



If you would be willing to send me a jpeg or two I would be glad to
make some suggestions. I’m not a photoshop pro, but have been
pleased with results to date.


Hi David.

Please understand that this suggestion is made from a position of
vast inexperience but it seems that it might be helpful.

Given that you would like to reveal the effect the diamond and its
cutting have on light, it seems that introducing a nice, controlled
light source would help.

I know one photographer who when shooting glass beads wanted enough
(controlled) reflection that the viewer could “read” that surface as
glass. He used a pinpoint light (flexible fiber optic, I believe)
focused on the surface at an appropriate angle to render the
reflection without disrupting the other requirements of the shot.

I’m sure that the set-up and angles are more complex than the
wording above might suggest.

The photographer is Jeff Scovil who is the author of “Photographing
Minerals, Fossils, & Lapidary Materials”. I have used his services
for jewelry images but have not read his book.

Pam Chott

I have been doing digital imaging and photography for quite some
time. I’m just getting started in to enameling ( my general
connection to the list). If you like you could send me a sample for
me to look at and perhaps come up with some solution, Photoshop or

R Ruff

Finally I can be the expert!

though I am working towards being a full-time jeweler, my day job is
being a graphic designer. And what do I do %50 of the time?.. colour
correct images!

ok - this is a little complicated so please ask me to elaborate if
you need me to, and I’m going to guess at what you would need to do
to help out these pictures…

#1 scan them in at around 300 dpi at actual size or print size

#2 convert your file to Image/mode/CMYK

#3 in the layers palette there are “adjustment layers” (the little
black/white circle) from this menu I want you to pick “curves” here
you can take out all colours or each individual colour and it
enables you to isolate where you want to take it from (highlights,
midtones, lowlights) by grabbing the points at either end or starting
one in the middle I’m guessing you need to take a bit out of your
highlights and/or midtones to brighten up the diamond

this is a little tricky and you will need to play around with it a

at this point you just want to concentrate on the diamond because
you may have to adjust each element in the image individually ie.
stone, metal, background) you can do this by adding a mask to any
adjustment layer - make a selection and click on the little camera at
the bottom of the palette


#4 once you think you have the colour balance right you are either
done - or you can add an adjustment layer of “brightness/contrast” a
little goes a long way

GASP! ok so I hope you understand that…

Aimee Kennedy
Burgeoning Jeweler
Tononto, Canada

Jeanne, yes, I have great lighting, and use a Nikon Coolpix with
very good macro.

My overall images are good, it’s just the diamonds which don’t look

David Barzilay
Lord of the Rings
607 S Hill St Ste 850
Los Angeles, CA 90014-1718


The issue is lighting. Trying to put sparkle into the diamonds on
the back end with photoshop is in all likelihood a loosing battle.

What light source(s) are you using?

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry

It sounds like you don’t need photoshop, you need to play with your
lighting. The Charles Lewton Brain photography video and book that I
own is based on film, so I don’t know what advice he is giving based
on digital. What lighting are you using? Another thought, what
white balance do you have selected? Do you have other lights on in
the room at the same time you are using your photography lights? If
you have flourescents on, and your setup uses incandescent, it can
throw off your white balance completely. I use daylight corrected
flourescents and turn off all other lights, it really makes a
difference. It would also help to know what it is that is making
your diamonds look bad. Are they dark, or washed out? If they are
washed out, it may help to sharpen them. If you have a sharpen tool
on your photoshop toolbox, choose a paintbrush size that matches the
size of your diamond and hit each individual stone with the sharpen
tool. If they are too dark, you could select out the stones, either
with the magic wand or (my preference) the polygon tool, then use
levels or curves to brighten them. I don’t like the effect of
lightening in hue/saturation, it makes the stones look lifeless.
Depending on wether you are working on pave or a center stone, it
sometimes helps the contrast of the finished shot to completely
desaturate the diamonds in pave so they are in black and white.
This seems to work especially well if they surround a colored stone.
I hope something in this post helps, but if not, give us more
details, and I will try again. Or email me off group if you want.


Hi all,

This month’s edition of “The Loupe” (a GIA periodical) has a big
article (although not incredibly informative) on new methods of
evaluating cut, and there is a 3-photo montage of the same diamond
under different types of lighting. Diffused light produced the best
looking image.

A local manufacturer of low end gold jewelry published a flyer of
its offerings, and I couldn’t figure out why the jewelry looked so
weird. I finally noticed that they had used the EXACT SAME diamond
for every stone on the page. Same photo. It gave me the willies. This
is what technology brings me???

Julia Newton
Lovely sunny, 70 degrees in January North Carolina