Fine Diamond Jewelry - A Contemporary Perspective

Contemporary Jewelry in All Its Glory

No era embraced contemporary diamond jewelry quite like today. Thousands of unique, modern diamond cocktail rings, necklaces and pendants, earrings, bracelets and even diamond engagement rings are flooding the market. Alongside the innovation in the context of jewelry is aesthetic acceptance, where buyers continue to evolve and appreciate jewelry designs that do not conform to the mainstream. This movement has resulted in floral cocktail rings, exclusive designer drop necklaces that the industry has never seen, avant-garde earrings with designs that violate most industry standards, and fancy bracelets that are unprecedented.

But What is Contemporary, Really?

By definition, the word “contemporary” means occurring in the present time. But more specifically, occurring in the present time implies a limited basis in history. In other words, by definition, a contemporary piece of diamond jewelry should be unlike the mainstream designs we have grown accustomed to. With these parameters in mind, most would agree that a contemporary piece of diamond jewelry is truly an invention. In fact, it is often created with a clean slate, rather than a classic designed, modified to look more modern. In this issue we are embarking on a journey of contemporary excellence, looking at the here and now in the context of fine diamond jewelry - diamond engagement rings, wedding rings, necklaces and pendants, earrings and even bracelets.

The Contemporary Cocktail Ring

The concept of the cocktail ring has been around since Prohibition, albeit the concept has evolved, and today’s cocktail ring renders a vastly different look. In the 1920s, cocktail rings were designed with pave diamonds and large gemstones. Today, cocktail rings contain quarts, CZ, diamonds and even colored cz and diamonds. How would you classify this particular cocktail ring? It is not a three stone diamond ring. It does not contain pave diamonds or gemstones. One could attempt to classify it as floral, but there is no flower in the design per se. The conclusion is that, in many cases, contemporary fine jewelry is given this classification when the mainstream designs can be eliminated as part of their aesthetic make-up. And the degree to which the mainstream designs can be eliminated often dictate the level of contemporary character within the design. It is safe to say that this design is highly contemporary, as it truly does not conform to anything that could be considered mainstream, and therefore has little history in the basis of its design.

The Contemporary Earrings

Many of today’s earrings fall into one of the commonly accepted, major categories. These include hoops, studs, drop, dangle and several other types. Most studs consist of one stone on each earring, which is a simple and beautiful way to accentuate beauty. The earrings shown above are also studs, but nothing about them is simple or conforming. This design actually consists of three pieces soldered together, when the center gold bar, produced in 18k rose gold, is closed in by two bars produced in 18k white gold, and the eight round brilliant diamonds bring out the sparkle in each earring.

The Contemporary Diamond Necklace

Today’s diamond necklaces can be viewed in a similar fashion to today’s earrings. The major categories include drop necklaces, chains, chokers, hearts and more. This particular necklace does not readily fit into any of these categories. While it certainly is a chain, the design is too complex to be considered a mainstream chain. A closer look will reveal that the two loops presented in this necklace are actually intertwined, and the pave diamonds help emphasize the curves. If you were to look for a halo necklace, you would typically find hundreds of designs to choose from. But if you happened upon this diamond necklace, the choices are far more slim, which leads us to the second premise behind a contemporary piece of fine jewelry - the options are simply not as elaborate as with mainstream jewelry.

The Contemporary Diamond Bracelet

Diamond bracelets are an incredible way to show your taste in jewelry. Much like a designer watch, the diamond bracelet wraps around your wrist and is there for the world to see and enjoy. While most bracelets feature classic eternity or semi-eternity designs, typically set with round cut diamonds, this bracelet boasts an Italian lily flower. The round brilliant diamonds are only set to emphasize the pistil - style stigma of the flower. Finding comparable bracelets would pose a challenge, which inevitably makes this a highly contemporary bracelet design.

The Contemporary Diamond Engagement Ring

The diamond engagement ring has been standardized in many respects, which enables buyers to seek comparable alternatives and have many options. Close to 80% of all modern diamond engagement rings sold in the U.S. can be classified as one or more of solitaire, halo, three stone, side stone, split shank, bypass and pave, or some combination thereof. The diamond engagement ring displayed above features a split shank, black diamonds and a combination of six-prong, four-prong and invisible diamond settings. Other than the split shank, this engagement ring does not conform to the 80%. The degree of contemporary character in this design is subject to debate. On the one hand it does feature a split shank, which means that it does contain some degree of mainstream engagement ring designs. However, some argue that a split shank is only a single characteristic of a design, rather than the definition of one. In this case, since the engagement ring lacks anything mainstream in the dominant design, it still can be considered to exhibit a high level of contemporary character.

The Contemporary Jeweler

Contemporary diamond jewelry is not necessarily the right fit for us all. While many gravitate to the modern and the unique, some of us enjoy the simple, classic and traditional jewelry, even if it offers a touch of modern character. Some of us enjoy browsing contemporary art, but ultimately go with the jewelry we grew up seeing. Appreciation for the contemporary does not automatically imply that one would choose to wear it or hang it on a wall at home. It simply means that we respect the creativity and sophistication needed to create a contemporary jewelry design, and transform it into reality. Contemporary jewelry - we salute you!