Carole Lombard Star Sapphire Brooch | Researching the Design

brooch
Close-up image of the brooch taken from the classic Hollywood film “My Man Godfrey”

 

Carole Lombard’s “goose egg” of a star sapphire was an outstanding gemstone. How would we ever find a sapphire like this gem?

After searching for weeks with various gem dealers, we decided to recreate the gem in glass. Figuring out the size of the sapphire was tricky due to the fact that several of the newspapers reported different carat weights for the star (anywhere from 150-157 carats). We used a gemstone calculator and determined the size of the gemstone from a scaled photograph of the brooch. With our best estimates in diameter and height we were able to come to the agreement that 152 carats was about right.

With the resources on the internet we connected with Hollywood historians/collectors and found several pictures of Carole Lombard wearing her brooch, on and off screen. We use these images to develop the re-creative design drawings. Once the drawings were approved we then start carving the wax carving model.

Kathleen Lynagh Design
Fabrication drawings
model
Working with the actual costume from The Collection.
Emerald and Diamond brooch
Gems were most likely set in the same way shown in the image above.
brooch
We considered matching this color blue for the “sapphire”
wax model and drawing
Using the drawing we then carve a wax model.
wax model
Wax model with the glass “gem”
Creating the wax model for casting
Wax model with glass “gem”

The next step was to recreate the look of pave setting. Pavé setting, pronounced “pa-vay,” comes from the French word “to pave,” as in paved with diamonds. By closely setting small diamonds together with minimal visibility of the tiny metal beads or prongs holding the stones in place, the effect is one of continuous sparkle. We developed this look in the wax model and we re-created the look to simulate the pave setting – continue our story here.

KLH

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