Improve Your Jewelry Photography with GemLightbox

|Sponsored| Do you photograph your finished jewelry designs for use on social media, selling platforms, to display on your website, or to simply catalog what you’ve created? Does your current jewelry photography set-up challenge you in the way of space or technology? And, do the captured images leave you feeling less than excited? I’m always in support of using a professional photographer for photographing my finished jewelry, but there are times when that isn’t practical. I have a new favorite studio mate to help in these cases and I’m so excited to share it with you—it just might be your next best studio friend, too!

GemLightbox for jewelry photography

GemLightbox all set and ready to roll!

Rio Grande’s exclusive GemLightbox Kit, the first smartphone jewelry light box, is an ingenious, compact jewelry photography solution. This kit comes well packaged, and once out of the box, you can put it to work within minutes (after downloading the GemLightbox application, available for all smartphones). GemLightbox is also really pretty with a mother-of-pearl-like exterior.

What’s Inside

GemLightbox for jewelry photography

Rear, left to right: necklace/earring stand; powered turntable; center: magnet adapter; front, left to right: photography table/ramp; phone stand.

The genius in the kit (well, there are a few) is the magnet built into the base that works in tandem with the accessories, providing a very stable environment. The accessories include a combo necklace/earring stand, which connects to the base of the box directly. There is also a photography table/ramp that magnetizes to an adapter, which then connects to the base of the box. The adapter lifts the photography table into view and holds it stable.

In the basic kit, there is a motorized turntable, powered by light and a back-up battery. In the deluxe kit, the turntable is a little more sophisticated, connecting to the power supply that also powers the lights. The turntable also works via Bluetooth connection with the GemLightbox app.

GemLightbox for jewelry photography

The lid and front panels, showing their reflective/mirror side as well as the “diamond” removed from the lid to expose the photo portal.

Other GemLightbox features:
  • integrated lighting system with basic, sparkle and daylight settings
  • simple power supply with an easy “plug and press power” operation
  • a front reflector that can be positioned horizontally or vertically
  • a second reflector integrated into the “lid,” enhancing light throughout the box and in areas the front reflector can’t reach
  • a removable section in the lid allowing you to photograph from above

Speaking of taking pictures . . . the kit also comes with an adjustable smartphone stand that works with most phones. Place your phone on the base and recline it to just the right angle (like a lounge chair!). The stand holds the camera steady while you adjust the lighting on the app; then click away!

To follow are some photography examples.

Jewelry Photography: Dark to Light

photographing jewelry and beads

Left: Lighting when the GemLightbox application is first launched. Center: Screenshot of the app’s appearance. Right: Net result when the lighting was adjusted using the simple lighting slide control on the app.

When you first open the GemLightbox app for jewelry photography, the lighting might need to be adjusted. The image on the left (above) shows the lighting when the app was first opened. By sliding the “lighting” icon on the bar (as you can see in the center image above) up or down, you can increase or decrease the light’s intensity. The image on the right (above) is the final result after some adjusting of the light. These images received minor color correction.

Shiny and Matte Jewelry Photography

photographing jewelry and beads

Lampwork beads by Aja Vaz as photographed using GemLightbox, from the opening in the top of the box.

It can be difficult to capture different surface effects in jewelry photography. Here, I feel the GemLightbox shows the surfaces exactly as they are. The lavender discs are shiny and reflective; the mossy-green and purple pod is matte and nonreflective. All are beautiful lampwork beads by Aja Vaz. This image has had minor color correction.

Jewelry Photography: Silver, Textures & Depth

photographing jewelry and beads

Fine silver metal clay pendant by Tammy Honaman, with lampwork cabochon by Amber Higgins of Worn Beadies and CZ from Dikra Gems, as seen through the GemLightbox app.

Silver is a very tricky metal to get just right in jewelry photography. Add in different textures and finishes (here, shiny and matte with a patina), and you really increase the difficulty. In this design, there is also the height of the glass cabochon and the bezeled CZ to factor in. Photo is from the opening in the top of the box and with only a slight adjustment to the lighting. There was minor color correction added to this image.

To Sparkle or Not

Fine-silver, sterling silver, CZs, pearl. Photo’d from the front of GemLightbox, captured to show the different light options: daylight (left), standard (center), and sparkle (right).

Fine-silver, sterling silver, CZs, pearl. Photo’d from the front of GemLightbox, captured to show the different light options: daylight (left), standard (center), and sparkle (right).

I would usually say it’s good to sparkle all the time but sometimes that doesn’t work for photography. In this case, the “sparkle” setting does bring a little lift to this fine-silver pendant. The sparkle feature has a far greater capacity than I was able to bring to life here, but hopefully you can see the difference from daylight lighting, to regular lighting, to the sparkle setting. One thing to note is the change between these options is as simple as a push of a button on the box.

Turn Baby Turn

Each GemLightbox kit comes with a turntable. The basic kit, as I’m showing here, comes with a solar/battery-powered turntable. The deluxe kit has a turntable that can be integrated into the box and powered by the same power used to operate the lights. The integrated turntable also works seamlessly with the GemLightbox app. Here, I’m showing a video of the bracelet taken with the video function on my phone.

Fine silver bracelet on solar/battery powered turntable; lighting by GemLightbox; video from the integrated camera on the phone.

One last feature to mention–the GemLightbox kit also includes four international adapters, perfect for using the system no matter where you are.

GemLightbox and the GemLightbox application are designed to make it super easy to create professional, studio-quality jewelry photography. You can use native photography apps already on your phone or even your DSLR camera. What will you shoot with this great system?

Tammy Honaman
Editor, Beadwork magazine; Group Editorial Director, Bead & Jewelry

One Comment

  1. MaryAnne B at 7:44 am July 26, 2019

    This article piqued my interest until I researched the cost. To get the ‘kit’ which includes everything is at a cost of $1,300 plus shipping. The app reviews on Android are horrific so I will seek other solutions for better photos.

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