As gemstone enthusiasts, we’re all aware of the miracle of nature that goes into creating every jewel. But between unearthing a rough gemstone at the mine and seeing it on our hand or around our neck for the first time, there’s a series of vital steps that are a miracle in themself. We refer, of course, to the intricate art of gemstone cutting.
Over thousands of years, we as humans have sought to refine the art of getting the very best sparkle, polish and brilliance from our gemstones - to enhance the journey of light through the jewel until it can be enhanced no more. Back in mid-June, over our three-day Cutting Edge Awards showcase, we celebrated not only the finest existing cuts ever to have been created, but also introduced four brand new never-before-seen gemstone cuts that were in the running to be crowned the inaugural winner of our Cutting Edge Award for Gemstone Cutting Excellence.
Our gemstone experts Jake Thompson, David Troth and Toby Cavill each introduced their newly discovered cuts and took the time to convince us why theirs should be crowned winner. The event was a big celebration of the craft of gemstone cutting, the ongoing art of refinement, and the very best of humankind’s stunning contribution to nature’s finest jewels. We present here the four new cuts and, for those who missed the show, reveal which cut won the award. Over 4,000 of you voted and we'd like to thank everyone who added one of these cuts to their collection and who cast their vote in the poll. We’re hoping to bring all four of these stunning cuts back in the near future, so keep an eye on our TV schedules and social media pages for date and time announcements.
David Troth: I think most jewellery collectors probably know that cutting gemstones is a time-consuming affair, but the final stage of actually cutting and polishing the stones is just the tip of the iceberg. Being fortunate enough to have seen the whole process as the Polka cut has edged closer to completion has given me such insight into the sheer skill and patience of the skilled lapidarists who created it. It requires the best minds in the cutting world to use all their years of experience to ask themselves, ‘how can I take the light on a journey through the stone that hasn’t been seen before’.
With the Polka cut, the team settled on this phenomenal mix of traditional faceting on the stone’s girdle but with a carved and polished crown of polka dots sitting atop a high dome, itself very difficult to polish. The final effect is quite unlike anything I’ve seen before and has taken months and months of experimentation, research and intricate modification to get every single facet and carved surface perfect. The high dome on the top creates a playful but elegant look, allowing a kaleidoscope of brilliance back out of the gem as you observe it moving about on the hand. I was blown away by the cut and cannot wait to hear the feedback from our collectors on how they feel to own the beautiful culmination of such a significant effort by the cutting team.
David Troth: A small but elite team of gemstone crafters have been working on the Sahl cut for quite some time at our workshops in Jaipur, India. I’m so proud to finally have been able to bring the exquisite fruits of their efforts to Gemporia collectors. Every exquisitely placed facet, every angle, every facet junction has been crafted to absolute perfection, and all because of the findings of Ibn Sahl. Ibn Sahl was a Persian mathematician who lived 1,000 years ago and was the first person to describe the laws of refraction. Sahl used curved mirrors and lenses to prove his theory about light and, in the process, discovered the basis on which almost all gem cuts are built.
Refraction is the bending of light when it passes from one transparent surface into another - you can see it when you put a straw into a glass of water, and the straw appears to bend where it crosses the surface of the liquid. The same rules apply to gemstones, with light bending as it enters the stones, bouncing around inside and then returning out the top of the gem to be observed as sparkle and brilliance. We’ve developed this cut in his name and honour, tweaking and perfecting every facet until we created a manipulation of light unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Efflorescence by Gemporia
Jake Thompson: Efflorescence by Gemporia is a new octagonal shaped cut that takes its inspiration from the AGTA Spectrum Award™ winning Efflorescence cut by Ryan Joseph Anderson. In time-honoured tradition, many cuts are modified and improved upon by future stars of the lapidary world. So it’s with Ryan’s exquisite six-sided original that we’ve set a high bar for our cutters in creating Efflorescence by Gemporia. They have risen to the challenge beautifully. By taking the number of sides from six to eight, the gemstone already has significantly more all-important girdle facets, increasing the potential journey of light within the gem and adding to the jewel’s overall sparkle.
But the real magic of this new cut lies in the mix of finishing techniques on individual facets. Most cuts feature flat polished facets throughout their finished form. With Efflorescence by Gemporia, crown and table facets retain this traditional finish, while the pavilion facets feature concave cuts. This incredibly time-consuming process rewards us with an exquisite stone that features a unique play of light, as certain facets let the light through as they always have, while others diffuse this light as it enters the stone, scattering it within the gem in a unique way that brings the quality of the facet work to the forefront of the piece. Looking down through the table facet on an Efflorescence by Gemporia stone will reveal the most beautiful rose bud shape, carefully created through a mix of exquisite faceting and careful treatment of the light as it enters.
You may know that gemstones come in various shapes, such as round, pear, square, octagon, oval, heart, and triangular. But if you think about the jewels that you have owned or observed over the years, how often have you seen a six-sided gem? It is extremely rare to find a hexagonal shape in gemstone cutting. Knowing this, and knowing how beautiful a six-sided table facet could look, informed just what I wanted to achieve with my new collection: Senary (meaning ‘related to the number six’). The Cutting Edge Awards have allowed me to do something really different with this brand new collection.
As you know, though, it’s not always about the shape of the gemstone alone. Each individual shape will also be fashioned into many different cuts, depending on the lapidarist’s choice of exposing the gemstone’s many facets. So, after many hours of testing and trying to maximise the beauty of the finished jewels, we decided that brilliant cutting would maximise the saturation, clarity, and size of the finished Senary pieces across the beautiful variety of gemstones we have curated for this collection. In all of my years of working around gemstones, it’s something I’ve never come across before. The hexagonal table and brilliant facets provide a perfect canvas with beautiful bursts of light and brilliance.
We hope you enjoyed discovering these four new exquisite cuts with us, and thank you once again for taking part in our event and for voting for your favourite. Look out for the second Cutting Edge Awards in 2022!
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