Black diamonds become new gem of choice
Originally more a fringe trend, today black diamonds are becoming increasingly commonplace. Although they will likely never supplant white ones, the black stone has carved out a unique place in the jewelry world, forming what Alan Bronstein, an expert on colored diamonds, calls a “fresh alternative to the venerable classic,” reported WWD.
Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, David Yurman, de Grisogono, Stephen Webster, Phillips Frankel, Mizuki, Jack Vartanian and Penny Preville have all released items highlighting the gem, either alone or mixed with white diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rhodium, gold or platinum.
“Consumers are seeking something new. People have to be creative, and that’s what they are doing. Designers are evolving so that they can continue being fashion-forward,” Bronstein said to WWD. “Fashion generally goes in cycle, and there are moments when people just want to break out with something different that they haven’t seen or sold before — and that happens to be true for black diamonds right now.”
Luxury Brand Consulting CEO Janice Winter attributes the growing interest in black diamonds to the increased quality of available stones, which has enabled designers to feel more at ease using the black gem. Black diamonds, she claims, allow jewelers to get creative while still sticking to their brand’s identity.
“Designers are always trying to add variety, diversity and have artistic expression, and having this material that looks so good enables them to sell their pieces as fine jewelry. Because it’s a diamond, it allows consumers to feel that they’re buying a fine product with confidence,” Winter said.
While white diamonds may seem too over-the-top for daytime, a black diamond has, Winter said, a “cool factor to it without feeling ‘blingy.’”
Back in 1995, Fawaz Gruosi was forced to fly to Bombay to find a jeweler willing to cut a raw black diamond. His jewelry label de Grisogono is now most famous for its use of the unique stone; in fact, more than half of the line incorporates black diamonds.
With such an exceptional stone, it is unsurprising his pieces come with a hefty price tag. Items vary from drop earrings with 356 black diamonds and twin pear-shaped emeralds for $209,100 to a black-and-white diamond choker with close to 1,300 black diamonds, available for $902,400.
Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry has also found success with the stone, using it in a black beaded tassel necklace, earrings and bracelet for its Fall 2010 line. Initially created solely for editorial purposes, the necklace is now one of the label’s best sellers.
Designer Stephen Webster has made the unique black gem a key part of his collection since his label’s inception. Currently 70 percent of his jewelry boasts the colored diamond in some shape or form, often juxtaposed with other precious gems such as emeralds, sapphires or garnets. Prices range from a paltrier $2,500 up to a more substantial $125,000.
“This really spiced up the collection. It wouldn’t have had the same drama if I even considered it in white diamonds. It definitely wouldn’t have the same effect if I used anything else,” Webster said.