Much has been made of what is truly a fashion extravaganza in the highly anticipated second season of Bridgerton, which aired on March 25th. Costume designer Ellen Mirojnick has outdone herself with intricate and opulent gowns adorned by thespians playing 19th century English aristocrats.
Bridgerton takes some historical liberties, and fans agree that requisite suspension of disbelief makes it more enjoyable than an authentic period piece. Over-the-top wealth, gorgeous sets and beautiful people give this hit-show its pazzaz. The designer’s crowning achievement is arguably the breathtaking sparkle.
Ms. Mirojnick spoke about her obsession with glitter. “We scoured the world for jewelry, and we had an amazing artist and jeweler who could recreate a lot of the jewelry that we used,” she said.
Real-life Bridgertons or Featheringtons of the 19th century would never consider artificial gems because real diamonds were a class statement. Despite this display of status, it would have been difficult a century ago to know if the stones were actually of high quality because there were no grading standards, and value was a matter of opinion.
Many things have come a long way since the 1800s. Surprisingly, most diamond grading labs have not. GIA’s 4Cs system in the 1940s standardized appraisals. Ironically, the problem with subjectivity persists because each gemologist perceives things differently.
This is where an Israeli hi-tech company called Sarine Technologies offers a valuable service. Known for its industry innovations since 1988, it operates the world’s first electronic diamond grading lab, where a sophisticated scanning system provides objective gradings.
High-resolution optical devices use artificial intelligence to scientifically measure color, cut, clarity and carat. Sarine detects synthetic stones like lab-grown diamonds, and delivers an extended appraisal in what it calls “light performance.”
Jan Kaufmann is a co-owner and artisan at Acreos, a gemstone boutique outside of San Francisco. “I’ve handled diamonds every day for over twenty-five years,” he said in an interview at a convention last week.
“We’ve questioned many of the GIA certifications. After expanding our business, we were buying more stones and needed to finally get serious about looking for a reliable certification. About five years ago I found the eGrading lab, and every stone we want to purchase immediately goes there for verification. It’s saved us a lot of money and headaches.”
Bridgertons didn’t have computers to help them navigate life’s complexities. Perhaps it’s best that they didn’t find out if the stones they thought were “great” turned out to be just “good.”
Even the glitter of artificial gems on Bridgertons is alluringly eye-catching, so it’s doubtful that Netflix fans would bother questioning things like authenticity or grading. Even if a person isn’t a fan of period pieces, this show is worth checking out for the truly incredible costumes and jewelry.