Fine jewellery has always been acutely affected by shifting tastes and fashions, but our own era has arguably been more redefined than any other – and it’s largely because more than ever before, women are buying and choosing their own jewels, shaping contemporary design with more feminine pieces, more colour, more fun and flamboyance.
The reasons are myriad. Greater financial independence – a trend that is growing at such a rate that within another decade women’s spending power could outweigh men’s – means that women are happy to splurge on diamonds to mark a special moment or to give themselves an occasional (or frequent) treat. Those shifting roles also mean that women are not waiting for the men in their lives to buy them diamonds. They are marrying later and indulging themselves with diamonds in the meantime. It’s hard to imagine now that it was once taboo for women to buy jewellery for themselves. Today it’s considered the norm.
The shift is also having an impact on design, as fashion trends shape fine jewellery collections; the rise of cocktail rings, statement pieces and layered pendants or bangles and bracelets can all be attributed to catwalk trends. But women are mimicking the look with gold and diamonds rather than resin and crystal, layering twinkling pieces such as DeBeers’ diamond and gold Talisman Pendant with other gold chains or piling pieces such as the gem-studded Talisman Bangle with other cuffs and wrist jewellery. But while fashion may have influenced jewellery design, the pieces that women are buying are often beyond fashion trends. They are timeless treasures that will last at least one lifetime, and more likely still, be passed on to another generation.
Although diamonds have become inextricably linked to engagement and eternity rings, their symbolism goes far beyond love and romance. Throughout history diamonds have been prized as symbols of purity and strength, beauty and power. For modern women, who are buying their own diamond jewellery, they are an intoxicating symbol of independence too.
But we are wearing this jewellery differently too. The nineties marked a major shift in the way in which we approach fine jewellery; while minimalism reigned in fashion and led to utterly understated design (simple cross pendants, stud earrings and sleek, clean bracelets) it also changed the way we thought about these fine jewels. If once they were reserved for night, the nineties brought us the very modern way of blurring high and low, day and night, so that it was fine to wear diamonds at any time.
Precious diamonds are no longer reserved for just dinner, but worn at any hour of the day and with anything. What could be cooler than throwing on your diamonds as casually as you would put on a white tee and your favourite jeans?
Classic pieces that are both understated and indulgent, such as sparkling tennis bracelets stacked on the wrist or diamond studs, can be just as easily worn with the most downbeat daywear as with an evening gown.
De Beer’s Bezel-Set Diamond Bracelet consisting of 52 diamonds set into articulated white gold settings is startlingly modern yet extremely classic. So too is a pair of Aura Sleeper Earrings with a delicate halo of pavé diamonds shimmering around a single round brilliant diamond.
Both are typical of the understated yet exquisitely beautiful pieces that women are adding to their jewellery collections. Like your favourite little black dress, these pieces are timeless and can be worn day or night, dressed up or down. And just like that little black dress, they will become your allies, beautiful armour for modern life.