Designing with stones is fun. It is literally like choosing bonbons in a sweet shop with the endless colours and combinations available and there are many different ways to approach it.
A gemstone is the focal point of a piece of jewellery; it is the main event that will draw the eye and capture the attention of all who lay eyes on it. A beautiful stone often needs little in the way of additional decoration, just a simple setting to show it off.

Designs using 10 x 8mm Cabochon Emerald
Emeralds need little introduction and we have just added some new styles and sizes to our range including the one I have chosen to use in the designs above. A 10mm x 8mm cabochon Emerald is a fabulous stone reminiscent of Egyptian Queens, particularly when teamed with the rich warmth of a high karat gold. Set simply in a rub over setting, a stone of this size can easily hold its own in terms of design.

Combinations of stones can create endless possibilities and the design stage is a great way to try out different shapes and colours without spending a penny. These are still very simple designs with no additional decoration but you can see how different a piece can look by turning a stone the opposite way around or by choosing an alternative stone to compliment the first. My starting point this time is the gorgeous 8mm x 5mm Pear Shaped Aquamarine, another new addition to our range. I wanted to add texture and contrast so chose to try it with 5mm cabochon stones in Emerald, Amethyst and Ruby. The 5mm cabochons balance perfectly with the width of the pear-shaped aquamarine, but add interest. With so many stones to choose from, it’s nice to mix things up sometimes rather than doing what has been done countless times before. A complimentary pair of studs will complete the suite of jewellery, but again, you can match either the stone type or the shape it doesn’t have to be the same.

A simple stud using a faceted 3mm Aquamarine
With so many stones to choose from, it’s difficult to stop at just one combination, so try to explore different versions of the same idea before settling on your final selection. You might just discover something unexpected.

Simple stone set designs using Trillion Cut 6mm Citrine, 8mm x 6mm Peridot Oval Cabochon and 8mm x 6mm Amethyst Oval Cabochon
Again, in the designs above, I chose to mix colours and cuts, this time using a 6mm Trillion Cut Faceted stone as the starting point. I really like mixing the deep yellow of the Citrine with the zingy green cabochon Peridot to make a fresh and lively combination, but it’s all down to personal preference of course.
If you are after more design than stone, a splash of colour can be used to enhance rather than dominate. This is something you see all the time but may not necessarily have thought about in this way. In this instance you may choose a less expensive stone or a smaller size simply because it is not the main feature of the composition. It will quite possibly still be the focal point, but there will be more to the piece than just the stone and its setting.

Flower designs using 5mm Round Garnet Cabochon and 3mm Round Garnet Cabochon
The great thing about working with stones is that more often than not, they lead the way in terms of design. Once you start looking at all the different shapes, cuts and colours it’s impossible not to be drawn in and often you find yourself going in directions you hadn’t anticipated – but then that is half the fun! To start your own stone journey, why not browse through our ever-expanding range at cooksongold.com/gemstones and see where it takes you.
Written by Joanna Varney
Joanna has worked in and around the jewellery industry for well over 20 years. She has designed and created her own pieces as a designer maker, as well as working in jewellery retail on a much larger scale, producing designs and NPD for some of the UK’s largest high street retailers

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