In this short video I'm setting a beautiful diamond into a ring I designed and handmade.  Only a few tools are used, since I prepared in advance, because I'm on site at Etsy in Brooklyn, New York.  In the trade, stained and calloused fingers are a badge of honor.

A light show can mean a number of things. It can be a show put on by meteors radiating from the night sky and leaving a streak of light as they vaporize from friction in our atmosphere. It can also be projected beams of colored light set to music for an audience, or the colored tiny lights on trees, in our front yards and on buildings during the Holiday Season. The light show I'm referring to is the one we hold closer, enjoy every day, often evoking emotion with very personal meaning that can connect us with someone dear or with a particular event. It is the light show that involves the brilliance, fire and sparkle of a diamond.

Since the mid 19th century, brilliance, fire and sparkle have been the attributes of light return associated with the diamond. And of the famous 4C's (color, clarity, carat weight, and cut), when we're talking about a diamond's light show, it is the cut that impacts its performance. Analyzing reflection patterns from the mosaic-like pattern on top tells the trained eye all about a diamond's light return. Does it contain alternating areas of light and dark that give the stone a bright, lively, high-contrast appearance? Is its flash of rainbow colors ("scintillation") broad and vivid rather than small spots of spectral color? Looking at the crown under normal lighting, does it still glitter without those jewelry store spotlights? These questions are always factored in when determining if the best possible light show from a diamond does in fact "make the cut".

Photographing diamonds is something I attempt with amateur results only, so you'll have to take my word that the diamond I'm showing you on my "commissions" page (the same one that appears in the short video, above) is absolutely gorgeous! It is a diamond ring I recently designed and handmade for Sarah, who in turn wrote an article about it. This diamond was set in-person, which I was happy to do without being at my own bench and without all of my usual tools, because I knew it would work out just fine. A great experience, which included meeting the Etsy Team, headquartered in Brooklyn, NY.

Here is a video of me setting Sarah's diamond at Etsy's headquarters, and this video production is by Bre Pettis. Bre’s video is also on YouTube and on my Trunkt portfolio, so apparently I can be watched setting this diamond from different places around the Internet world! A new experience for me that I'm trying to process! Bre’s shot at the end of this video is all about a light show that makes the cut. -Al


Last weekend we visited the Church of the Incarnation in Manhattan. On the north wall is the Victory Over Death window, created by Tiffany Glass Company lead designer, Frederick Wilson. I found myself directly in front of Martha's robe, made of amber-colored drapery glass. Before I even knew what I was doing, I softly and very quickly touched the surface and then felt incredibly guilty for doing so. I took this picture to remember how this one tiny detail thoroughly took my breath away. Though warm in color it was cool to the touch, and it felt wrinkled and heavy, like damp fabric frozen in time. Stepping back to take in the entire window, the light worked its wonder to make Wilson's artistry come alive.


This window of Saint Cecilia, patroness of musicians, was created around 1880. It is located in the south nave of The Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. A family friend took this photo, and now Rachel is in Australia. If she has the time and the right lighting, she may get a few shots of stained glass from there too! And then, of course, we'll share with you!

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