Chose a background color, or texture to enhance the photo. For the color you can use a contrasting color from the stones. Avoid similar colors and tones as the stone or color of the gems. For texture, a granite tile works pretty good. Or some stones, bamboo, and even some props can help enhance the photo to create a scene and something more visually appealing than your boring white background.
Instead of using all softbox light, throw in some hard light to hit stones and make them really pop. A photographic bling if you will. Mirrors or silver reflectors can be used as your hard light source as well.
The second most important part of jewelry photography is depth of field. You want to get the most focus out of the shot as possible. Usually using a small aperture will do the trick. Remember not to zoom too far in as that will also kill your depth of field. More than likely you want a lens that has macro capabilities. This way you can get as close as possible to the object with your camera, keeping you from having to zoom in and lose your deep of field (dof).
White balance is another big concern when it comes to jewelry photography, especially with gold. If you don't have your white balance set correctly your gold will more than likely come out a brownish color and tone. If you come across this issue you know that you have too much blue or green in your color, and should adjust accordingly. Usually setting up a white card in the beginning of the shoot is a good idea. And you can reference that for you source of white point. Exposure is also important to keep your gold jewelry from turning brown. Check your histogram to make sure you are at proper exposure.
Craig Smith is a Dallas Jewelry Photographer. Specializing in advertisement style photography, and shoots product photography in Dallas for catalogs, retail, online stores and more.