This is the primary consideration which must be kept in mind for any sort of photography. In the case of jewellery photography, it is more simply because most jewellery tends to have a certain shine or sparkle that is its key element. A number of good photographers struggle with this simply because getting the right lighting to do justice to the piece can be excruciating. Always make sure that your entire set is flooded with light so that photographs turn out in full clarity.
However, keep in mind that harsh lighting, such as that from a direct source can be bad for your pictures as they will create too much brightness and shadows. The best option would be light that is at least partially diffused or dimmed. If shooting outdoors, opt for places that are bright but not affected by direct sunlight. If the shoot is happening indoors, make sure that you have good studio lights and they are pointed in the right direction. Attempt the shots with different lights at different angles to see how this impacts the jewellery.
In most cases, especially when stones or faceted surfaces are involved, the angle at which light hits the surfaces can be a defining point for the photograph. Also, make sure that you avoid the flash that your camera has because it will affect the photo. It looks unnatural because the light source is too close to the lens. If you do insist on using flash, it will have to be pointed at a different surface such as a wall from where the light can bounce off and come back to the jewellery in a more muted form.
It is a good idea to understand your camera and its settings for focus before you begin clicking photographs of jewellery. This is specific as most cameras have individual settings for focusing on a particular point that is not a part of their manual setting. Jewels and stones need specific attention concerning which parts of them will be in sharp focus, and which parts will be blurred out. Different parts of the stones may have different types of shine or glitter, which can only be captured if there is a focus on those specific areas.
Moreover, the image composition is essential since this will determine which part of the piece is the hero and how it looks when placed in different surroundings. Deciding the orientation and the angles of the jewellery can make a huge difference in how it is perceived in the final images.
Checking the white balance of photos can become a very important task when you are working with jewellery since this defines how the colours of the piece will look. This is especially true in case of shooting objects that are primarily silver or gold. Cameras usually attempt to guess the appropriate white balance of a picture, but they often fail monumentally. Since they can only adjust with respect to one type of light at a time, if an image should have different types of light sources, the correction would be messy and would lead to the image looking excessively blue or excessively orange.
Hence, manually adjusting the white balance becomes very important. It is also important for photographs of coloured stones since only good white balance will do true justice to stone, its colour, its facets, and its shine.
Hopefully, this article has helped improve the basics of photographing jewellery and the best way to get good photos with any camera. Good luck and happy shooting!