Rapaport Magazine

A Piece of Heaven

By Amber Michelle
RAPAPORT... When it comes to colored gemstones, colored diamonds are unparalleled in their range of color and for the sparkle that makes diamonds so unique among other gems. For designers, these rare gems create a myriad of new design options that take precious jewelry to a higher level.

Due to their attributes of color, brilliance and rarity, colored diamonds are among the priciest jewels in the world and that is a big part of their allure. “The words ‘color’ and ‘diamond’ together are exciting,” says James de Givenchy, principal of the private salon Taffin in New York City. “Just to know that colored diamonds are rarer than any white diamond immediately makes you think expensive. It’s a new frontier with color.”

Aron Suna, president of the New York– based firm Suna Bros., uses Argyle pink melee in design, often as an accent. “They are very expensive so we use them judiciously,” he says.

Other colored gemstones may be mixed with diamonds to add a pop of color, but colored diamonds add more than just color — they add that extra measure of preciousness that makes a piece of jewelry even more special. “I use colored diamonds for the integrity of the piece for keeping it precious,” notes Janice DeBell, director of design for diamond house Kwiat.

Designing with colored diamonds offers a designer more opportunities to develop a palette of texture and contrast that gives a piece of jewelry more visual interest. “When you’re designing with white diamonds, there is no leverage; it is just white-on-white.

You have shape, style or trend,” notes Richard Palermo, design director for Color Craft in New York City. “But with colored diamonds, black and white or brown and white, you’ve got the power of two or three and that gives a designer more options and creative freedom to leverage the design. You can get into patterns and have contrast that you can’t get with white-on-white.”

Suna notes that combining colored diamonds with white gives the color more impact. “We tend to use fancy intense colored diamonds and very, very white goods to bring out the color. The more contrast, the more the fancy color pops.”

Since colored diamonds are so rare, it is hard to repeat a color or find an exact match, and it is this very uniqueness of the stones themselves that inspires designs and adds a special nuance to a piece. “Colored diamonds are a very graphic element. There’s a variance of color in diamonds — even of the same color — that gives texture and movement to a piece,” says DeBell. “Celebrating the uniqueness of each stone adds to the design.”

When working with colored diamonds, Austin, Texas–based designer Zoltan David of the eponymous firm often lets the stone inspire the design. “Withnatural color diamonds, there is so much surprise in the color that it is best to find the stone and let the design grow from it.” He adds that it is more than just color that makes these diamonds special. “The most beautiful colored gemstone is a diamond because of its brilliance.

In color, nothing is more brilliant than a diamond and it is a very powerful combination.” De Givenchy agrees, “The brilliance of the colored diamond is what every stone tries to achieve.”

It is not just the crème de la crème of colored diamonds that are of interest to designers. De Givenchy, who creates many one-of-a-kind jewels for a chic clientele, will use colored diamonds that may be overlooked by some. “It is exciting that colored diamonds without great paper are getting recognition. They make it more affordable to work with colored diamonds. These diamonds impact the design just by being there.”

Colored diamonds have a special mystique because there are still a lot of consumers who are unaware of their existence. And while some people may know about yellows and browns, many don’t know how broad the color range is in diamonds. This gives the stones a certain cachet. “It’s a conversation piece,” comments DeBell.

Palermo points out that retailers know that consumers want something new that they don’t already have and that they can get excited about. Colored diamonds can fill that order. “Colored diamonds add more visual interest to the eye and they are eye-catching in the showcase,” he says.

The rarity of colored diamonds delights designers who often feel that it is a special treat to work with these gems. Sometimes, they are lucky enough to find exactly what they are looking for and other times, these gems present themselves to the designer. Either way, colored diamonds are thrilling for designers to use as part of their creative vocabulary. “It’s like grabbing a piece of heaven to work with colored diamonds,” concludes Zoltan David.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - April 2008. To subscribe click here.

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