Perhaps a big part of jewelry’s mystique is its durability. Not a week goes by without someone approaching us with a request to “do something” with “mom’s”, “grandma’s” or “great-grandma’s” diamonds. It’s clear that, in some way, they emotionally connect women in the present to their fore bearers; and it doesn’t have to be a post-mortem gift.
Take, for instance, the ring a client and one of our staff worked out as a means to make use of a couple of baguette cut diamonds (diamond ‘sticks’). They were ‘left-overs’ from a previous repurposing of some her diamonds; and they weren’t really large enough to serve as the top of a ring. One of our staff, however, had the bright idea of making the focus of the ring’s top a baguette cut blue sapphire. Less expensive than a diamond; it would keep a simple ring from looking too bridal – an important consideration as the client wished to give it to her “away at college” daughter. So far so good. Working together, the two women decided on an narrow but angular ring that would echo the shape of the diamonds; and to emphasize the gems, they decided to give the ring a very matte finish. When the ring was finished the client liked it and the member of our staff who had guided the project loved it; all that remained was the reaction of the young woman who would receive it. She loved it; so a successful gift, one for a lifetime connection to her mother, had been accomplished.
Then there was the family diamond a young bride-to-be wanted to wear at her wedding. About a third of a carat (round brilliant cut), it had been her grandmother’s; but the ring it was in was worn out. She wanted to be able to wear it at her wedding and had decided that a pendant necklace was in order. The problem was to make the diamond look significant in a piece of neck jewelry large enough to ‘show’ with the low neckline of her wedding dress and yet versatile enough to be a continuing part of her jewelry wardrobe. We managed this in two ways. First, as she liked heart shapes, we designed an open, somewhat abstract heart shape. If you can imagine it as a drawing, it would look like a heart drawn with a thick line from the point up through the notch and then the line narrowed and returned to the notch. At the point end of the narrow line we fabricated a one-of-a-kind setting for the diamond that made it hint at being the head of an arrow; and never had the diamond looked so important! Then we met the problem of versatility (in future wear) by fitting it with a neck chain with two attachment points. This would allow her to vary its effective length and so be able to wear it with both open and less open necklines. In spirit, she was able to have grandmother with her at her wedding and will be able to have her with her often in her daily life.
A not infrequent problem is that of making use of small diamonds of different shapes in a single piece of jewelry. So it was for a woman who approached me a few years ago. She was very close to her niece and wanted to give her something, using a mix of small round brilliant cut diamonds and baguette cut diamonds ‘left overs’; and she wanted to give them to the young woman to wear at her wedding. The problem presented to us was complicated by the imperfect matches of the diamonds one to another. In a ring they would have looked like something just thrown together; it would have been unprofessional. After some consultation, the client decided to go with my recommendation that we use the diamonds to make a pair of dangling earrings. The diamonds would be separated from one another by small lengths of white gold chain so that they would have movement and any ‘mismatch’ would not be apparent. As earrings, of course, they would be on opposite sides of the wearer’s face and the combination of distance and motion would make the disparity in their sizes far from obvious yet capitalize on the visual interest imparted by their different shapes. When we were finished the client was happy – and delighted to later report to us that her niece had loved them and wore them at her wedding!
There are, perhaps, three ‘morals’ to these stories. The first is not to despair of being able to use diamonds that are currently exiled to a safety deposit box for either emotional reasons or questions of fashion. With a little imagination, if not yours, ours, you can use them. The second is don’t despair of using your smaller diamonds in a piece of jewelry that may cost more than such small diamonds may be valued. If they are pretty gems to do so is to overlook the fact that diamonds are, weight for weight, probably the most valuable personal possession you will ever have – 1 carat weighs only 0.2 grams! Finally remember that diamonds are so durable that with reasonable care they can, regardless of weight or value, last very nearly forever. If you are in the market for a diamond you should put yourself in the hands of someone who is interested in the art of jewelry, not just your money. Naturally, that means that you must see us here at Hursts’ Berwyn Jewelers. We’ll never sell you a mediocre diamond and we’ll treat your diamonds with the love and respect they deserve. Check us out on line at hurstsberwynjewelers.com; then phone us at 708.788.0880 for an appointment. We’re not the common jeweler.