If the prospect of having a piece of jewellery commissioned has aroused your curiosity but you have felt intimidated at the prospect, here is a recent example which had unexpected twists.

A client had inherited two ruby rings and approached us with a view to having the stones re-set. Both rings had been worn for many years, so the stones exhibited significant signs of abrasion- rounded facet edges and scratched and damaged facets which produced a notable loss of lustre. We explored the merits of having the stones re-cut/re-polished to restore them to their former glory. This was the obvious time to consider these options as the stones would be removed from their existing setting. One of the rings has been featured below.

Large, good quality rubies are extremely expensive, so the client was also advised to consider having the stones certificated prior to setting. This process would provide invaluable insights- confirmation of whether it was natural or synthetic, subjected to treatment to enhance its appearance or durability, and in some cases, proof of provenance. All of the above would then ensure that the stone could be appropriately insured.

However, upon closer examination, both specimens were unusually free of inclusions and had not been cut with the sort of care and reverence one would have expected of such impressive stones- this always sets off alarm bells. As a precautionary measure, we undertook some preliminary gemmological tests to establish basic facts before embarking any further.

The second stone did in fact produce a ruby spectrum, but various aspects of the stone necessitated further investigation. Inspection under a gemmological microscope revealed curved, concentric lines which ran uninterrupted throughout the material. This is telltale sign of Verneuil synthetic corundum (corundum is the mineral term for sapphire and ruby). The second stone had been man made and was not a natural ruby.

Hence, despite the sentimental value attached to the stones, neither had the material value which would warrant being re-cut and re-set.

The client then felt at liberty to view a selection of loose stones in stock. After experimenting with several different colour options, she settled upon a dusty pink cushion cut tourmaline. The stone needed company, so it was matched with a pair of collection quality Asscher cut diamonds. Simplicity was key to the setting. In order to highlight the gorgeous colour of the centre stone, she elected to have it set in rose gold, with the side stones set in platinum.

Four weeks later, after being hall marked at the London Assay Office, she took delivery of her stunning ring…