Design Diary: Making of a Star Sapphire & Diamond Necklace




Who doesn’t love a good behind-the-scenes design story? The theme of this story is about finding a diamond in the rough (in this case a star sapphire), giving the gemstone a quick makeover, and showcasing it in a diamond-studded setting.


Loose star sapphire after being recut by the lapidary.

After several trips to the lapidary, the sapphire was finally cut just right and the beauty of its “star” was maximized. At this point, the sapphire was passed into my hands and I set off to give it a home worthy of its beauty. A beautiful gemstone is always the star of the show and a setting is the backdrop in which the diva performs. With the star sapphire, the beauty lies in both the color and, of course, the “star”, known as asterism. All-star sapphires are cut as cabochons so I wanted to create a design that would emulate this effect and continue the rounded flow of the top of the gem. I needed to create a design that would move with the wearer so that the light would capture the star effect at all times from all angles.



To accomplish this, I kept with the smooth, organic egg-shape of the gemstone so that it would gently roll without completely flipping over and created a basket to hold it. However, I always love the back of my pieces to be spectacular as well so why not set it with diamonds. This way as the basket rolls with each move not only are you seeing the star float across the top of the cabochon but you are seeing the dazzling light play of diamonds.


The platinum setting for the necklace before being set with diamonds.

I had to be careful not to create the back too rounded so I anchored it with a custom-cut blue faceted sapphire. I began planning the design on the back and at first, I wanted to echo the asterism on the front of the sapphire and I played with all sorts of ideas. However, I finally decided that simplicity was best and finalized the back of the design with individual bead-set diamonds. This is a type of pave setting but the beads that hold the diamonds in place are individual instead of being shared. This separates the diamonds slightly so that they appear to be radiating out from the center oval, faceted sapphire.


Checking the sapphire to make sure it fits correctly.

Of course, I had to indulge my constant need to “bling” out every surface of a piece and added diamonds even to the back of the bail (holding the chain). As for the metal, when paired with diamonds and the cool, cornflower blue color of certain sapphires platinum was an obvious choice. Also, I love for my pieces to have a nice heft and weight to them and well-cast and fabricated platinum definitely accomplishes this.


The star sapphire necklace is currently for sale. E-mail us for pricing information.


If you would like to read more about the star effect called “asterism” you can read my blog post that gives an in-depth explanation about how this wonderful phenomenon comes to be.



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