Every Janus Creation is always guided, ultimately by the stone, and this 3.719 carat Colombian Emerald ring is no exception. Discovered languishing in an antique Victorian brooch, the ring’s superb centrepiece, a rich, natural emerald from the world-famous emerald mines of Muzo, Colombia, immediately caught John C. Kulukundis’ eye.
“I knew instantly that this was a special stone and at least 150-years old. But what struck me most was its color,” recalls Kulukundis. “The stone’s vivid green hue, with its fantastic blue undertone, is exactly what you want of an emerald. Gems of such intensity are hard to find.”
Muzo’s emeralds are renowned for both their incomparable green color and supremely high quality. Some of the most beautiful, costly and rare gems known to humanity have been discovered in the South American town, including The Duke of Devonshire Emerald: an uncut emerald weighing a dazzling 1,383.93 carats. A stone beloved of both the aristocracy and the A-list, emeralds became increasingly popular in the mid-20th century, no doubt, in part, because both the Duchess of Windsor and Jackie Kennedy wore emerald engagement rings.
Janus’ emerald is of a similarly exceptional, old mine hue to The Devonshire. Unusually, it’s also an oval cut, unlike the conventional emerald cut, making it even more interesting. Removed from its tired surrounds, the emerald was expertly recut and repolished by Kulukundis’ master lapidary to bring it back to life. The stone’s true splendour revealed, Kulukundis set about deciding how to accentuate its beauty — opting eventually, and unconventionally, on two brilliant cut Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamonds.
“The obvious choice would have been white diamonds and a white gold or platinum setting, but that would have been too harsh for me. To get the best out of the emerald, I chose to combine it with more color,” explains Kulukundis.
Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamonds have an acid yellow vibrancy. With the emerald’s astonishing green hue and the richness of an 18k French gold setting, Kulukundis knew the jewel would be both dramatic and sophisticated.
A perfect pair of Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamonds duly sourced, Kulukundis’ final design saw the three stones set across the finger, highlighting them to maximum effect while still creating a softness of form. Importantly, the pavé (the small surrounding stones), consists solely of Fancy Intense Yellow Diamonds.
Again, Kulukundis could have used white diamonds or, indeed, more Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamonds, but neither would have supplied the softness and subtle graduation of tone that he was reaching for:
“I didn’t want to create an overtly flashy jewel. I wanted to highlight the three principle stones, without detracting from them.”
Working with his top goldsmith, Kulukundis honed the ring’s design using both CAD and wax renderings.
“We needed to ensure that the stones would all sit at exactly the right height and angle to fit on the finger and follow the curve of the ring’s design down to the last millimetre. At the same time, it was vital that the gems’ beauty could be seen from all angles.”
Such attention to detail is immediately apparent. Immaculately handcrafted, there’s an almost Oriental feel to the head of the ring’s gentle curves and nebulous form; suggestive of contours you might find mirrored in antique Chinese porcelain and embroidery. The soft femininity contrasts with the simple architecture of the supporting shank, while the flawless work of the master goldsmiths gives strength, but still with a surprising lightness on the finger.
Interesting, unusual and unquestionably beautiful, the emerald ring has a singular richness and warmth and looks astonishing, both by day and by night.
“My intention was never for the ring to be quirky and clever, but it is unconventional. This is a dress ring that wants to have fun”, admits Kulukundis. “It’s a head-turner, a statement piece, yes. But while all three principle stones are very bright, it’s extremely wearable. It’s not a jewel that should only come out on high days and holidays; whether lunch at the Hotel du Cap or a Manhattan charity ball, this ring wants and deserves to be there.”