Fascinating facets: Gemstones that stand out

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Jewellery Net Asia

When most remained faithful to that classic achromatic combination of diamonds and platinum, the style pioneers veered towards the vivacity of coloured gemstones. Now that the fine jewellery world at large has embraced colour, the trendsetters are looking for another way to stand out, through unusual cuts.

The cut of a gemstone can change its entire appearance. Not only can its shape be altered, the visual experience that one has when gazing into the stone can vary wildly from one cut to another. And this unique experience, to own something found a little off the beaten track, is something today’s shoppers are happy to pay a premium for.

This is a trend that influenced the diamond market some years ago. Once, non-standard diamond cuts were the reserve of the world’s top diamonds houses, but in recent times mid-priced brands have battled for market share on the shopping streets of every town by differentiating their diamonds through cuts.

As the majority of diamond sales tend to be for round brilliants, the nature of this game was usually played out in the number of facets a brand could offer, with the brands claiming that the more facets a stone had, the more sparkle it would deliver.

With coloured gemstones there is room to be a little more creative, and shape and facet work are both available for customisation.

In Italy, fine jewellery house Ugo Calà buys in rough gems so that it can have them cut to its own specifications at a workshop in Germany before they are returned to its own atelier to be set. Gemstones created by the brand have off-centre and inclined tables, while the undersides of the stones have been cut with hundreds of tiny facets to aid colour and shine.

This trend also translates to England, where family-owned jeweller Sheldon Bloomfield has achieved an increase in sales thanks to widening its collection of coloured gemstone jewellery and introducing ever-more unusual gems. It has been working with carved stones and alternative faceting. Its latest ring set with two-tone Bolivian ametrine provides an almost kaleidoscopic experience, whilst a pentagon-shaped Brazilian amethyst has clashing linear facets that give the impression of an exploding star.

As more jewellers enter the coloured gemstone market, we will see a rising number of brands seeking out unusual cuts and carvings as a way to stand out from the competition and titillate luxury goods shoppers hungry for individualisation.

Not all will be created equal, however. For some truly inspiring avant-garde gemstone cuts that smash every last remnant of cutting conventions, check out the work of Germany’s Atelier Munsteiner. Founder Bernd Munsteiner has been dubbed the Picasso of gems, and the award-winning next generation of this highly creative family, Tom and Jutta Munsteiner, are just as capable of blowing your mind with sculpture-like masterpieces.

This article was originally published on JewelleryNetAsia on 11.02.15. I write a weekly column for this website about global jewellery trends. 

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