Bold, classic and totally timeless, jewelry designers are having a love affair with black gemstones once again.
BY MARLENE SRDIC
The color black says many things.
It’s dark, it’s moody and it’s bold. It’s confident, mysterious and versatile in the emotions it evokes. Sometimes, it’s drama. And other times, it’s somber.
Its endless pairings are the reason the little black dress is the ultimate fashion staple and the color is emerging once again as a fashionable jewelry trend this year.
This season, black is back and the color of choice for jewelry designers everywhere. First spotted on the spring 2014 runways where the pairing of black and white fashion emerged as a strong trend, fashion designers like Oscar de la Renta and Tom Ford sent out models clad in coordinating black baubles. From black diamonds to onyx, spinel, pearl and black sapphires, the dark side of jewelry is definitely having a moment.
The popularity of black gemstones in jewelrymaking is hardly new. Its roots can actually be traced all the way back to 1861 when Queen Victoria, who commissioned a number of black jewelry pieces to mourn the loss of her husband, Prince Albert, first popularized the trend. Its popularity was seen again in the Art Deco period; “Cartier made it famous in the 1920s,” says Ruth Thuston a fine jewelry expert at CIRCA which specializes in the purchase of fine jewelry, diamonds and watches. Thuston notes that with the promotion of 2013’s film, The Great Gatsby, an interest in black jewelry emerged again.
“We’re seeing a lot of onyx, resin, ceramic and black spinel,” she says, adding that Van Cleefs & Arpels’ Ballet Précieux collection includes a number of pieces inspired by the Russian ballet, Swan Lake, that incorporate black and white diamonds and black spinel in a very striking way.
“I particularly like black onyx with diamonds, I think it’s a great combination,” she says. Pairing semiprecious gemstones like onyx with precious stones like diamonds used to be considered unusual, but now is done quite often. Diamonds, pearls and both white and yellow gold are also now being seen with black onyx. Other common pairings that Thuston notes include rock crystal paired with diamonds and onyx and the use of black resin.
Black onyx can be found in many of David Yurman’s pieces as well as Tiffany & Co’s Ziegfeld Collection. And when it comes to black enamel, David Webb has some dazzling designs paired with yellow and white gold and white diamonds. Webb’s “Buckle Ring” ($27,000) features black enamel, pavé diamonds, platinum and gold and makes quite the statement.
“It’s a very timeless trend,” Thuston says. “It’s both neutral and bold and it’s jewelry that’s easy to wear with a lot of things. It’s a very winning combo.”
Marlene Srdic is a magazine editor and freelance writer who specializes in luxury lifestyle writing. Her work has appeared in a number of national media outlets and she consults for private fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands as well. www.glitz-grammar.com.