perfect engagement ring
The Perpignan garnet is an emblematic precious stone of Catalan, made only by skilled apprentices in the southern French city of the same name. It is not a well-known jewel to those outside of the town, but the deep red colour of the garnet set in closed 18-carat gold could make it one of the most bespoke and unusual engagement rings.
“Le Grenat de Perpignan” since 1750
The making of this garnet, also known as “Le Grenat de Perpignan” goes back to the 18th century when the stones were taken from the East Pyrenees in Southern France. Nowadays, most of the garnet comes from India but is made only by local apprentices in the workshops of the jewellers in the city centre. An important feature of this jewellery is, in fact, the 18 carat gold setting, which provides a rounded base for the stone. This is often referred to as the “chaton”.
Cutting, setting and mounting the garnet
Perpignan jewellers opt for a “flat” cut which has become known as the “special Perpignan cut”. The craftsman positions the garnet on a thin sheet of red coloured reflective paper and marks the number of claws wanted. He then folds the gold over the garnet.
The craftsman uses a special file for the setting, which he rubs edgeways so that the parts between the claws emerge. This flattens the gold and fills the space between the stone and the setting. Finally, the craftsman smoothes the claws with a tiny triangular file.
The distinctive mounting of the garnet is called the “chaton” and represents the flat cut, the red paper and the gold “cradle” in which the gold is inserted.
Unusual engagement rings
Garnet itself is a popular stone but makes for one of the more unusual engagement rings. Some people choose the gemstone due to its various tones, which range from fiery red to orange and green. The Perpignan garnet’s deep red colour makes it the ideal stone for those who like the darker red tone and, in particular, could be the perfect choice for those who would like to opt for a unique piece of jewellery.
Bringing back tradition, Perpignan jewellery echoes the “gold and blood” of the local coat of arms. Consequently, most local families own a piece of the jewellery that has been handed down through generations.
A Perpignan garnet engagement ring has the potential to become a newly wedded couple’s family heirloom. The garnet signifies loyalty and honesty, which, key to marriage and all relationships, makes the gemstone a suitable choice of engagement ring gemstone. The Perpignan garnet is arguably the most romantic version of the garnet, particularly since France is renowned as a country of romance.
The garnet is protected under the genuine garnet guarantee, which is particularly useful since it is a stone prone to wear and tear in fluctuating temperatures. However, it is still a durable gemstone and, with the right care, it can create a beautiful piece of jewellery able to withstand daily tasks.
A Perpignan garnet makes modern use of ancient French tradition and could potentially characterise one of the most bespoke and unusual engagement rings on the market.