Karen Bandy Studio

Epic diamond project, and following in the footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh

karen bandyComment

I just completed a bracelet order of epic proportions, probably one of the most complicated and involved projects I have ever attempted. In many ways, it was a "tour de force" for me and my team, of whom I'm very proud. It also shows how we'll go the extra mile for you, no matter what size your budget.

A client had a delicate, pretty but just-too-dainty diamond bracelet. We began discussing bracelet options with the goal being clean and classic, while making an impressive statement.

I suggested a tennis-style bracelet with larger-than-average diamonds of any shape, including the classic round. My client wanted something more unique, though, so I walked her through a variety of less-common shapes, and she chose Asscher cuts.... one of the most difficult cuts to source, and match, perfectly. 

   Asscher cut diamond, 3.21cts with GIA report, F color

Asscher cut diamond, 3.21cts with GIA report, F color

Asschers are like an emerald cut on steroids. Not only uniquely cut, they are hard to obtain in large quantities (this bracelet required 36 diamonds), and gem cutters hoard the finest stones for this cut. Every diamond would need to be nearly flawless and colorless, as any imperfections in an Asscher cut will show to the naked eye. While smaller sizes are available, larger sizes are the proverbial needle in the haystack ... in this case, 36 haystacks!

I have a gem supplier who works magic when given assignments like this. An expert on Asscher cut diamonds, he loves them as much as I do. He has a line on obscure dealers whose specialties are also unique, from New York, to cutting shops in Belgium, India and Israel. He called in every favor, cajoled and persuaded, and over several months of back-and-forth we got stones chosen and custom-cut.

We then rejected many due to cutting that just didn't meet our exacting specifications. At one point, we had every 0.50-0.60 carat Asscher cut diamond in the country sitting on our desks! Just keeping track of which gem came from which country and what broker was a giant challenge.

And they all had Gemological Institute of America reports, ensuring that each diamond was of the color and clarity that we needed. Once the collection was assembled, our eyes were the final critics.

We then carefully matched and ordered the diamonds so cut that, color and clarity were consistent from the first link to the last. That's a bigger challenge with Asscher cuts because there are fewer facets, and cutting imperfections show as much as natural flaws in the diamond crystal.

   Here's the completed bracelet, 19.18 carats in platinum.

Here's the completed bracelet, 19.18 carats in platinum.

My goldsmith created used a computer-aided-design machine to ensure we cast 36 identical baskets in platinum, then hand made the handmade links, clasp and safety. Only then could the diamonds be meticulously set.

Careful planning, painstaking research, and exacting workmanship resulted in a spectacular bracelet, an epic project that turns heads.

My client was thrilled, as was her husband. When they picked it up we shared a glass of champagne to commemorate the event.

In all, the bracelet took almost six months to complete, a long project in my gallery but worth the wait. When we squinted at the diamonds under bright lights, sparks of color radiated from the bracelet. I have never seen the phenomenon on that scale before. I wish we could recreate that in a video, but making a camera squint is tough!

I know this is a long story about a big project with a lot of moving parts. But I relate it because it is a wonderful example of what lengths we'll go to for every client's jewelry design ... whatever your budget.

PS: Scott and I took the trip of a lifetime, down the Rhone River in France. If you visit my studio, I'll be sure to bore you with pictures, haha! I was truly inspired by the antiquity of the region and by all the art that we got to see up close and personal. Arles, where the tour ended is where Vincent Van Gogh spent his last and most creative years. The light and the air is very clean and fresh feeling, quite a contrast to all the old architecture and Roman influences.

So back to work and gorgeous fall weather. I have some new jewelry to show off, and am working on a new series of paintings inspired by France, that I'll debut in November.