All posts filed under: Gemmology

Pradoren, the Swiss savoir-faire of a jewellery workshop


Somewhere between mountains and lake hides a postcard-looking Swiss village. A treasure to discover! In the center of this village is located the historical workshop which crafts jewellery for Baenteli, whose know-how is now well established. The workshop was taken over by Hakim Allou in 2014. With only four employees at the time, the young yet experienced Frenchman made sure to deliver the best high jewellery pieces, with special attention to the quality of manufacturing ; the gem sourcing and the ethics. With over 10 years experience, Hakim Allou has already collaborated with the greatest brands of the Paris Place Vendôme who entrusted him with very beautiful projects. A jewellery workshop with unquestionable know-how The Pradoren jewellery workshop has nothing to envy to the know-how of the Place Vendôme, quite the contrary. It is located in an ideal environment for jewellery and lapidary know-how, where Swiss manufacturers have reached a level of excellence one may not expect compared to their watchmaker neighbours. Indeed, we have learnt that the Pradoren workshop manufactures jewellery pieces for the …

A day in Paris at the Ecole des Arts Joailliers

Who hasn’t ever dreamed of learning a bit more about jewellery and spending a day in the premises of the prestigious Place Vendôme? This “school of jewellery arts” is dedicated to the history of jewels and the world of gemstones. The Paris based Ecole des Arts Joailliers Van Cleef & Arpels makes our dreams come true, nevertheless confronting its students with the difficulties of jewellery artcraft. Created initially by Nicolas Bos, who wanted to highlight jewellery know-how and perhaps also encourage vocations, the school is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. It also organises visits of the Museum of Decorative Arts, a longtime partner, to illustrate the different courses. The school offers 20 different courses following three main axes: the history of jewellery, know-how and the world of gemstones. I was lucky to experience a day at the Ecole des Arts Joailliers, Van Cleef and Arpels. A great activity whether alone or as a couple, as a gift to your beloved one or to share with your bestie. Perfect idea for a fun and educational …

All you need to know about diamonds!

« Help ! My man wants to buy me a diamond but I don’t know how to choose! » I have heard this too often!  Keep cool! It’s not so complicated: follow a few basic rules and trust your eye and your heart, they are your best allies! The basic “4 C” rule makes it easy: The diamond has four evaluation criteria called the 4 C: Carat, Clarity, Colour, Cut. Let me explain : Carat: The weight of a diamond is expressed in carat and a carat is equal to 0.20 gram. The carat is divided into 100 points. For example a diamond of 0.50 carat is equal to a diamond of 50 points. Carat is also the unit of weight measurement of precious stones and fine stones. You may be surprised by the price difference between a diamond of 0.99 carat and one of 1 carat or more, the same goes for a 2 carat diamond. I recommend you to choose a diamond a little below the desired caratage, nobody will know that your rock is …

Tanzanite, the December birthstone…

Tanzanite is a fascinating blue stone discovered fairly recently. A variety of zoisite with a very peculiar blue-violet colour, its discovery dates from January 1967 by a miner named Ndugu Jumanne Ngoma. A fabulous story: on his way to visit his family, his attention is caught by very transparent and shiny crystals looking like rough tourmaline. A few hours later, the man has picked up from the ground several kilos of the stone, fascinated by the magnificent colour. He tries to sell it but at that time no one is interested. Eventually, the discovery is attributed to Manuel De Souza, who is the first to commercialise the stone one year later. The gem’s value was recognised by the Maison Tiffany & Co in 1968, naming it tanzanite as a tribute to its country of origin. Close to the colour of the amethyst, the gem  also has a bluish colour deep as sapphire. It may also appear pink, due to its natural and intense pleochroism which makes the stone fascinating. Moreover because it is found in …

Garnet, the January birthstone

For thousands of years, garnet has been used for jewellery under the name “red gem” or “carbuncle”. Courageous explorers would travel with garnets because of the popular belief that the stone would illuminate at night and protect them from all kinds of demons. Roman brooches dating from the Merovingian period decorated with garnets are exhibited at the Musée des Antiquités Nationales in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. German philosopher Albert Le Grand (1193-1280) named the stone in reference to the colour of the pomegranate fruit. At that time, they are simply polished to preserve the rough stone. In the 18th and 19th century, garnet jewellery became fashionable, mostly the pyrope garnets, named also Bohemian garnets. The garnet is a family of gems comprising many varieties and different colours ranging from bright green (tsavorite garnet) to reddish brown, yellow, orange and even purple. Only blue is not represented. Particularly interesting is the rhodolite garnet which is a variation of the pyrope garnet in a very attractive purplish-red shade. Rhodolite garnet tends to have a lighter shade than all other red …

Citrine, the November birthstone

November is coming to an end but let me tell you about this month’s beautiful birthstone: the citrine! The citrine is part of the large family of quartz, with a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, it crystallizes in the rhombohedral system. The main deposits are in Brazil, Madagascar and Sri Lanka. “Citrus” in Latin means lemon, the name comes indeed from its peculiar yellow colour which is due to the presence of iron. Most of the citrines on the marketplace are actually heated amethysts. Around 470 degrees to obtain a light yellow, and the higher the temperature, the darker the stone transforms, turning into brown tones. Its colour ranges from the most classic golden yellow to tangerine yellow and sometimes to Madeira yellow – an orangey colour like that of the eponym wine. In the Middle Ages, citrine symbolised prosperity, glory and joy, it was considered to be  the stone of the merchants. At that time, following popular belief, each stone was used during its corresponding month, when its strength was at its …

10 tips to buy gemstones abroad

Patrick Voillot is a gemstone specialist and has traveled the world for 20 years in search of the most beautiful gems. He graduated in gemmology, he is a doctor in pharmacy and a curator of the mineralogy collection of the Paris V Faculty of Pharmacy. Based on his experience, he gives us 10 tips for buying precious stones. He gave this advice during the conferences held at Mes Créateurs Joailliers trade fair last November. 1. Find out about availability If you are going to a foreign country and you want to buy gems, the first reflex to have is to enquire beforehand about the different varieties of gems you might find in the country. For example, in Burma it will be rubies but also topazes, tourmalines or aquamarines. If you are offered stones that are not commonly found in this country, it might be a fraud… A good way to check this information is to check out Patrick Voillot‘s website which details for each country the stones that you could find. Or check out a gemstone guide …

« Bejewelled Treasures »: The Al-Thani collection

The much-awaited exhibition “Bejewelled treasures”, the Al Thani collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London cannot fail to impress. The impression, on the contrary, will be to have eyes filled with stars and the palpable emotion of having seen something quite exceptional. A private collection exploring the great themes, from tradition to modernity, in Indian jewellery. The exhibition features over a hundred objects and jewellery pieces from the private collection of Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani. The jewels are organized into six different universes: treasure, court, kunden & enamel, transition period, modernity, contemporary masters. For each, one spectacular piece of jewellery serves as an introduction to the universe. The exhibition welcomes you with a turban ornament dating from 1935. A fabulous piece sparkling like a thousand flames due to the presence of 17 diamonds of unprecedented purity, totaling 152.64ct. This ornament also illustrates the influence of Europe on India by the simple detail of the mount which is made of platinum and not gold as traditionally used in India. In the first part …