Unusal Jewelry Photographing Background

One of my books has unusual photographs of jewelry. It looks as
though the jewelry is sitting on top of a colored mirror. However, no
matter what the color of its metals or stones, the jewelry is always
reflected in the mirror in black and shades of gray.

How do you create this type of photograph? I can send you one of the
pictures if that helps.


janet -

it could be a mylar mirror - they come in smoky gray and bronze -
perhaps other colors as well- and to me they seem to give a rather ‘2
way mirror’ flatness to reflected images. if you want the same
background for your pictures, look up a local mirror shop and check
it out.


The items are shot laying on black or dark colored acrylic.
Experiment with attaching paper of various colors to the underside,
depending on your lighting setup.

Ed in Kokomo

dear Janet.

the effect that you are seeing is created by taking a black piece of
paper. laying it flat on a table in your light box. then taking a
piece of glass and putting it on top of the paper…you may want to
prop it up alittle bit with something. about 1-4 inches. I prop mine
up more on the back. this can give it a fade to grey look. now angle
your camera about 30 degrees infront of the piece…there it is THE


You can also shoot the piece nestled between two photos of completely
black backgrounds. Here are the steps:

  1. Create a completely black backround in Photoshop (or other
    software) and print out two copies on glossy photo paper. Depending
    on the size of the piece you are shooting, you may want smaller or
    larger black photos.

  2. Staple the two photos together at one end like a book, with the
    black sides facing in towards each other.

  3. Pin or tape the back of one of the photos to the bottom of your
    photo box, such that the stapled end is towards the back.

  4. Attach a piece of string (with a needle or tape attached to the
    end of it) to the back of of the top photo such that you can stick it
    through or on to the inside top of your photo box.

  5. Place your piece sandwiched in between the two glossy black
    surfaces and adjust the height by lifting or lowering the string
    attached to the top photo. You may need to experiment with this…

Good luck!

I have attached a link of a shot of an old costume jewelry pin, on a
piece of black acrylic.


Its a wall pocket purchased at the office supply store for $8.49. I
assume this is the effect you were inquiring about. I used a spiral
flourescent 23w bulb, color temperature 6000k, purchased at a bigbox
hardware store for $4.49, in an aprox. $3 reflector from the hardware
store. I edited out a few pieces of dust that had settled in the
picture area with Adobe Photoshop, but thats about all. My point is
that it does not require a major cash outlay, or any degree of
technical expertise to get shots like this, as some may lead you to
believe. I am not a professional photographer in any sense of the
word. This is just something I play with for my own- appraisels,
webshots, etc…

Ed in Kokomo

I have attached a link of a shot of an old costume jewelry pin, on
a piece of black acrylic. 

Wow! So there is hope for us non photographers! I love how the pin
reflects on the acrylic. I got to thinking about that. Acrylic is
pretty much the same as plexiglass and plexiglass can be purchased
in all kinds of colors (I just bought some in purple). It’s very
easily cut with a jeweler’s saw and then can be glued with a little
epoxy and a few clamps. So, I suppose that if one can’t find such a
box in an office supply store, one can make one in pretty much any
color one wants! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

Polly Spencer
Mary Amalia Jewelry
Portland, Me.


Be aware the the plexiglas or acrylic will scratch easily. You’d be
surprised how easily.

Another, and I think better, way to accomplish the same thing is to
take a piece of thin glass and paint it on one side with the color
of your choice. Set the piece to be photographed on the UNPAINTED
side of the glass. I like to use non-glare glass as it gives a more
subtle and less distracting effect.

Additionally, you can suspend the piece of unpainted glass above a
colored background of your choice (I prop mine up on bricks) for
various effects. There’s no limit to the variations one can achieve
this way. One thing you will learn very quickly: When photographing
shiny objects on black backgrounds, the black is reflected into the
metal and stones; AND, because balck is such a poor reflector of
light, the bottom parts of the image need to be lit separately to
reveal adequate detail. The image you spoke of shows this fault.
Nice, but a neutral background would let light reflect up into the
bottom portion of the piece, improving the detail significantly. Try