Kate turned 50 last October, and her husband Mike wanted to mark the occasion with something rather special, something – if possible – unique. He’d been considering ‘upgrading’ her engagement ring for some while, as he felt that after 20 years she deserved more sparkles, so he came to see us in our Poynton store.
Chatting with Chris and Nicky, he mentioned that Kate admired coloured gemstones and did Chris have any ideas. Well, it just so happened that he did! Genius idea number one…
We’ve said before that Chris is a big fan of unusual and beautiful gemstones and loves to work with these in the creation of wholly unique pieces. He had recently acquired a rather fabulous Zacinth Zircon, which had been mined in the northern jungles of Myanmar.
Mike loved it immediately, but then – oh the dilemma! How should he have it set?
Chris suggested that Mike take a different approach – simply present Kate with the gemstone, unset, and let her decide how she wanted it mounted later.
Genius idea number two!
On her birthday, Kate was thrilled to be given this beautiful stone – and, she later said, relieved that she could choose her own, simple setting, designed to showcase the ring, but also in keeping with her own personal style.
Kate visited Chris and Nicky and sat with them to discuss the design options. Her personal preference was to avoid too bold a mount (and Mike had set a budget that ensured she couldn’t get carried away anyway!) Chris’ idea of creating a delicate, looped band set with tiny diamonds met with her own need for simplicity and the stone’s need for a light, bright showcase. The result is flawlessly beautiful.
Jacinth is an ancient word for orange and tones of orange, which is today rarely used. It’s applied to Zircon gemstones that fall into the orange, red-orange or golden brown range of colours. The earliest reference to a gemstone described as a Jacinth is in the Old Testament, and is part of a text describing the breastplate of Aaron, set with 123 gemstones, each representing one of the tribes of Judea:
“And you shall make a breastpiece of judgment, in skilled work; like the work of the ephod you shall make it; of gold, blue and purple and scarlet stuff, and fine twined linen shall you make it. It shall be square and double, a span its length and a span its breadth. And you shall set in it four rows of stones. A row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle shall be the first row; and the second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; and the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; and the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper; they shall be set in gold filigree. There shall be twelve stones with their names according to the names of the sons of Israel; they shall be like signets, each engraved with its name, for the twelve tribes.”
Admittedly, nobody actually knows precisely which orange gemstone is being referred to here, as it could be any of a multitude of options, but Zircon was well known in antiquity, and orange, orange-red and brown-red colours for gems are not massively common in the gemstone world, so it absolutely could be!
Zircon actually is closer to resembling diamond than any other natural gemstone. It comes in ‘colourless’ and in shades of blue too, which are romantically labelled as ‘Starlite’ Zircons by some jewellers. They’re also found in tones of green, pale yellow, pink, purple and grey. The Zircon’s fabulous lustre and sparkle gives it a dazzling fire that is often compared to that of the diamond.
NOTE: You must NEVER confuse Zircon with Cubic Zirconia! Cubic Zirconia is a synthetic, inexpensive diamond simulant, not a naturally occurring gemstone made by the powers of Mother Earth. So there.