Filed under: Jewelry
For thousands of years there has been one main way to set gemstones for jewelry, by using metals. One jeweler is testing that with a new method. Etienne Perret has begun using gem ceramic to create gemstones and jewelry. Etienne's Gem Ceramic, is made of Zirconia ceramic, which is said to be hard as sapphire and practically scratch and shatterproof. It's the same sort of material that is used in the ceramic knives I covet every time I see Ming Tsai using them on his cooking show. The ceramic is molded and cast as a powder. The process of setting diamonds and other gemstones is done by inserting 18K gold tubes into holes in the ceramic. In some designs the holes or groves pre-molded but in others they drill the holes, but you can only drill them using diamond bits. It's perhaps most striking in black but the Etienne's Gem Ceramic collection bands are available in black, white, pink, blue and brown with a choice of polished or matte finish (or a combination in some cases). No other colors are currently available but they can make whatever color the customer asks for.
The pieces weigh less than traditional precious metal designs of equal volume. The thick bands are basically indestructible, so much so that they can't really be engraved. One caveat, rings can not be resized. Etienne will replace Gem Ceramic rings for a new size up to twice a year (due to seasonal finger fluctuations) for little or no charge other than shipping. The ceramic stock rings are fairly inexpensive, the largest portion of the price for the diamond Gem Ceramic designs is the diamonds, followed by the the 18kt gold or platinum it is set in and the setting labor itself.
As for the diamonds, Etienne Perret also specializes in both natural color diamonds and "color-enhanced" stones as well as laboratory-created HPHT (high pressure, high temperature) diamonds in an affordable rainbow of colors. Read more about Etienne Perret designs on his blog.
Gallery: Etienne Perret Rings