Jewelry photography is one of the most difficult technical photographic skills out there. Even after you get a handle on the lighting and setup, that is only 30% of the process. More than likely you’ll have to do focus stacking to get the maximum sharpness for an image, and that can be after using a tilt-shift lens. After getting all the photographs taken, there’s still 50% of the job to be done in post-processing to get the image even close to what a client wants.
Take for example the ring in the upper right hand image. It is 60 years old and has seen a lot of use. The piece is very dear to the client and they wanted the best image possible within a budget.
This was a tall order, as the rhodium plating has worn off in many spots and the casting of the ring shows a lot of pores. Getting the look just right for their use takes quite a bit of work. The bottom diamond has a big chip in it, the ruby has several inclusions and surface defects. Of course, all of these are invisible when the ring is worn. But when the client needs a photograph for it, all the defects become painfully apparent.
You can see how the image started with in the bottom right picture. The color is off. The depth of field is shallow, the background is not white, on and on. Click on the photo to see a larger version.
Some of the imperfections have been left, as the client did not want to make the ring “too perfect”. Just good enough for their use.