Dec 292010

blog-ringI have always considered myself extremely fortunate that I have an opportunity in my work to see things that have perhaps never had a pair of human eyes clapped on them before.

In the course of examining gemstone inclusions I see many truly wonderous things and every now and then, I find something that tickles me.  Recently, I was suitably tickled!

This orange sapphire came in for valuation and under microscopic examination something truly beautiful and very amusing was revealed.

Delving into a gemstone through the microscope always feels to me like being dropped into the ocean in a small submersible craft.  You enter another world full of usually unseen but quite incredible things, each telling its own part of the gemstone’s story about its identity, where it came from and what tortures it may have had to endure to present itself as you now see it.

Unseen beautyEvery twist and turn made while working through the stone adds to the picture that will eventually form my conclusions.

So this little orange sapphire was mounted on my equipment and I spotted something interesting and zoomed in for a closer look.

I adjusted the lighting to get better contrast and then ZAP! The inclusion group lit up like a Christmas tree.  This big clown’s face was smiling back at me.

As the gemstone was tilted on the stage this effect was flashing on and off just like a neon sign.  Just for the record, apart from cropping, the image you see here is exactly as it came out of the camera…… yes those neon greens, blues and pinks appeared in the stone as you see them here. Wonderful.


Is it a clown?

Is it a clown?


… or maybe it’s Homer.

Inclusions are sometimes referred to as “flaws” and considered a negative attribute.  I don’t always agree.  What do you think? Does this inclusion add to the gemstone’s interest and beauty or take something away?  I would respond with a resounding “add” and where possible I try and include images of inclusions in my reports. Sadly, the pressures of time don’t always allow for this indulgence.

To me, this fairly ordinary sapphire has now become something quite special.  I am just hoping that my client feels the same way too.  I am also hoping she doesn’t detest clowns as some people do, or I have just put my foot in it by publishing this piece.  Maybe she likes Homer Simpson instead….. here’s hoping.

Adrian Smith – Perth,  Scotland.  December 2010


Photo Credits:
Homer Simpson – Fox Broadcasting Company
Clown face – Courtesy of
All other images – Adrian Smith
Disclaimer: The AIJV blog is authored by a selection of AIJV members and guests specifically to be able present many different viewpoints on a large variety of subjects. The opinons expressed by the authors are not necessarily those of the AIJV.


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Adrian Smith

Adrian Smith is the principal of Adrian S Smith FGA, an independent jewellery valuation practice in Perth, Scotland. He is also the Founder and Administrator of the Association of Independent Jewellery Valuers

  8 Responses to “Humorous Gemstone Inclusion”

  1. Adrian, I love this story and your photograph is stunning 🙂 Thank you

  2. Brilliant, thanks for sharing. Was the cheery chap trying to tell you something??

  3. I love to see inclusions within gemstones, natural or synthetic, they often make me smile. It’s great to see one smiling back!


  4. Fantastic! I am fascinated by inclusions; this is the best I’ve seen yet.

    – Georgina

  5. Adrian,

    What power magnification did you use?


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