gems photo tips is a subject that people often ask about... or at
least hint at. Some readers and casual visitors to this newsletter usually
ask general questions, such as "Do you do your own
photography?", or "Do you own the jewelry that appears in the
Gem and jewelry
industry people, and website operators, tend to ask more specific question
regarding how we photograph jewelry pieces or gemstones... questions about
equipment or techniques.
Jewelry and gems
photo tips are not always what folks want to know about. Some
ask for permission to reproduce images copied from the newsletter.
I will repeat some
of those reader's questions here... and provide answers and/or discussion
based on what works for us. I will also use several images from recent
newsletters, rather than create new ones.
Jewelry and gems
photo tips were not available to us when we created the azgem.com website
in 1999. We learned by experimentation with different lighting sources,
trial and error with backgrounds, and wasting time and money on equipment.
I wish we had answers to these questions then.
you do your own photography?
Answer: Yes, we do
much of our own photography... but not all. Some images are provided by
jewelry manufacturers, auction houses, and gem cutters. Some come from
folks asking questions.
images of these small, shiny, colorful objects is sometimes difficult. If
you have legitimate access to a suitable image, go ahead and use it. If
the image owner requests a credit line, do it! A credit line is usually
very simple, and looks something like this: Photo courtesy
of the Washington Museum
you own the jewelry that appears in the newsletter?
Answer: Not always. Some is provided by
museums, some from estates being sold, and some from vendors, and
companies that want us as a customer.
Question: May I use one (or several)
of your photos?
Answer: Yes, but not in conjunction with
adult material, and only if you display this credit line under each
photo: Image courtesy of azgem.com
Question: May I attach an image to an
email that I want to send to you?
Answer: Yes. We have very good virus/malware
software running on our computers.
Also, all images provided to us may be
reproduced on any of our az-webs.net websites.
Question: What camera(s) do you use
to take photos?
Answer: A jewelry
and gems photo tips popular question. For close-up, sharp images we use a
camera long out of production. But the good news is, you can buy them
refurbished. We use Konica Minolta Dimage Z2 digital cameras.
I think they are
up to model Z6 now. They increase the megapixel capability, add or improve features such as anti-shake and processing speed, or
auto-focus, and lens zoom power with each new model. But I don't need that
for my purpose. What I do need is pixel capacity for high resolution
images, and super macro capability for very, very close-ups of gems. The Z2
model suits my purpose just fine... and for around $100 each refurbished
A jewelry and gems
photo tips money saver: Digital cameras suck the charge out of
batteries, even when not in use. The Z2's use 4 batteries. We have two
sets of rechargeable batteries, so charged batteries are always available.
If I anticipate not taking photos for a
few hours or days, I open the door to the battery compartment. I lose the
date and time settings when I do this... but I don't need those, and I
save the charge.
Question: Why do my red garnet
photos make the gem look black?
Answer: Reds and greens can be
difficult to capture. They require a different light
temperature if you are using artificial light. That change in lighting
usually requires a change in your camera's white balance.
Question: What light source do you
Answer: We've tried several of the photo-studio-in-a-box
products and light boxes. The results were not worth the cost to
us. For some jewelry and gem photos, we use a couple of full spectrum gem lamps. We get
ours from Stuller, but several places sell them.
Photo courtesy of Stuller
For many photos we use indirect sun
light. Reds and greens usually come out well and we don't have to redo the
Whether sunlight or artificial light, we
find indirect lighting best. It helps reduce "hot spots" that
you often see on gold jewelry images.
Question: Do you enhance photos
Answer: We manipulate images, but
we never enhance colors. In the example shown below, a potential vendor
sent a large image of their spinel, white zircon, and sterling silver
We used software to:
Isolate one of the earrings
Crop out the unwanted part of the
Center the new image using the
software's "constrained cropping" feature
Paint out the small piece of the
other earring showing in the cropped image
Specify a specific smaller size
Add the drop shadow.
Question: Why do my photos turn
out poorly when I use a black background?
Answer: I find that a dark gray or
dark green background produces better results than a black one.
Question: What do you use for
Answer: What don't we use!
Depending on the object being photographed, we may use a:
Bright white, hard surfaced box. I
save several boxes (shirts) each Christmas
Colored poster board
Felt squares in a variety of
The great outdoors and fingers, as
Jewelry and gems
photo tips are becoming more important as white metal jewelry becomes
jewelry can wash out and almost disappear against a white background.
add beautiful color to sterling jewelry, and help to define the piece in a
photo.. Blue, purple, red, green, yellow, and
other colors of gems compliment silver very well.
Jewelry and gems
photo tips, especially those related to lighting, must be adjusted when
photographing yellow metal pieces, highly polished surfaces vs. matt / brush /
frosted finished pieces.
Top - The Princess Diana and Kate
Middleton engagement ring. The center stone is an oval shaped, 18 carat
blue sapphire, surrounded by sixteen round, white diamonds.
Next - Amethyst oval in Sterling ring
Next - Our kind of camera
Next - Full spectrum gem light
- Vendor's earrings photo
- Screen print of vendor's photo being manipulated
- Finished image taken from vendor's photo
- Hand held sapphire rough photo taken using super-macro camera feature
- Sterling silver bracelet with colored gemstones
Special Offer - Aquamarine Trillion with seafoam blue color
Next - Kataragama Blue Sapphire rough
Next - Dealer Product Image - Chrome Diopside and White
Topaz Ring in Sterling
Last - Dealer Program Image - Pink Spinel and Sterling
A Google search using keywords such as photographing
jewelry or macro photography can return some very interesting
information and websites.
Here is this month's special gem deal. I have a good
stock of aquamarine, mostly in the 20+ carat range.... but only have this one in
the size and shape listed here.
We keep gem prices low by buying quality gemstone rough
worldwide, and having the rough material cut by our gem cutters in Asia.
Gem Industry News
Blue Sapphires From Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka there is a road construction project called
the Kataragama- Lunugamvehera Road. On February 15, 2012, crews were building up
the road bed with fill dirt brought in from a nearby site.
While working with the fill dirt, blue sapphires were
noticed in the dirt. The origin of the fill dirt was traced back to the source,
which proved to be owned by the Sri Lanka Forest Department. More blue sapphire
crystals were found in the excavations.
Upon professional examination the blue sapphires were
determined to be of superior quality. “We believe that the blue sapphires that were found here
are of more worth than the famous Burmese Blue Sapphires and the Kashmir Blue
Sapphires. We want these sapphires to be named Kataragama Blue Sapphires and for
them to be recognised internationally,” said National Gem and Jewellery
Authority Chairman, Prasad Galhena.
Both the National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) and
the Forest Department are under the Environment Ministry. The two departments
quickly reached an agreement on how to open the site for gem mining.
Immediate arrangements were made with the Army to provide
security for the fill dirt site - turned valuable gem deposit. The 3 ˝ acre
site was divided into blocks and auctioned on February 24. "The blocks were
given only for gem mining for a period of one year but not for any other
purposes", said Chairman Galhena. “Since underground soil belongs to the
state, no one is allowed to mine gems even if on their private land. If found to
be a gem bearing land anywhere in the country, a license has to be obtained from
the NGJA for gem mining,” he added.
Gem experts from the Gemological Institute of America are
now at the site, at the invitation of the NGJA, to study and report on the
chemical composition in the soil where these gems were found, and the generic
patterns of the blues sapphires found there.
From a supply perspective, now is the time to replenish your depleted inventory.
If you have some money to invest in inventory - there are deals to be had.
And you should have some cash. After all, that depleted inventory was sales.
From a sales perspective, gift giving occasions have not disappeared. Birthdays,
anniversaries, and many other reasons to give nice jewelry at a great price just
keep on coming. Your customers (and their friends) need what you offer!
A market where people perceive they should spend less fits right into your
Be The Quality Jewelry Discounter.
Do you enjoy jewelry and gems?
Do you enjoy talking with friends and friends