Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. And in jewellery, the most iconic designs are the cleanest. A piece that makes an impact using a solitaire diamond is the mark of quiet genius. But as the greatest creators know, effortless simplicity is incredibly difficult to achieve. So what should buyers look for when investing in a diamond solitaire? We present the ultimate checklist of things to consider before you buy.
What you’re buying. A natural diamond has an intrinsic value that correlates to its rarity, which can be conceptualised with the Four Cs: the internationally recognised standard for grading colourless diamonds. Carat refers to the weight of the stone. Cut (not to be confused with shape) is a measure of how well a round-brilliant diamond is cut and polished, which affects its symmetry and sparkle. Colour is graded from D to Z, with colourless D-F colour stones the rarest; diamonds with lower colour grades have hues of yellow, brown or grey, caused by chemical impurities. And Clarity refers to the presence of internal imperfections and external blemishes, ranging from Flawless to Included. Although there’s more to buying a diamond than its paperwork, the four Cs are a guide to its unique character.
Where it came from. Diamond passports and digital documentation allow customers to trace the journey of their diamond solitaire. British house Boodles sets diamonds from South Africa’s famed Cullinan mine in spectacular rings and pendants which see a single stone take the spotlight. Accenting these treasures with rare pink diamonds, the house uses minimal settings to make the traceable stones the main event.
When you’ll wear it. The clean simplicity of a solitaire diamond chimes with the trend for minimalism. A single natural diamond makes an understated necklace or bracelet that can be worn all day, every day. Cartier’s D’Amour diamond collection features solitary diamonds in straightforward settings of white, rose and yellow gold, illustrating the house’s knack of creating pared-back yet iconic designs. Harakh’s East-West-set emerald-cut diamond hangs on a delicate gold chain, perfect for layering, while Mouawad’s round-brilliant diamond stud earrings are a timeless day-to-night staple.
Then there are the pieces that demand glamour. Al Anwaar places a single diamond atop a backdrop of channel-set rubies in a showstopping cocktail ring, while Gem Palace combines assorted solitaire diamond shapes in elegant drop earrings. Thakorlal Hiralal offers a breathtaking display of symmetry and sparkle in a red-carpet worthy necklace, in which 29 pear-cut solitaire diamonds grace the decolletage, a dazzling yet pure design that allows each stone to share the spotlight.
How much you want to spend. Solitaires make the perfect ‘starter’ piece of jewellery.De Beers’ My First De Beers collection features petite versions of classic designs, such as the Clea necklace, with a 0.07ct bezel-set diamond suspended from a fine gold chain. The collection was created as a way to begin building a diamond collection, and it is also popular with women buying for themselves. Brands like Jennifer Meyer, Yvonne Léon and Persée prove that you don’t need to spend a fortune to own a timeless piece of solitaire diamond jewellery.
At the other end of the scale are big, rare and valuable diamonds that need no other ornamentation to show off their unique natural beauty. Diamonds from De Beers’ Natural Works of Art collection are set in stunningly simple designs that showcase the quality of the stone. With a high jewellery solitaire, there is nowhere for imperfections to hide, so investors can be sure that these stones are the finest their money can buy.
What makes it special. It’s possible to achieve a pared-back look without playing it safe. Repossi specialises in contemporary, architectural styles that play with positioning and negative space. Pear-cut diamonds hover between parallel lines of polished gold, or appear to float between the fingers. Sparse yet interesting, Repossi’s solitaires are a masterclass in the art of distinctive yet minimal design.
London-based Jessica McCormack is best known for her engagement rings, but she also sets solitaire diamonds tilted on bands of gold, strung on a wear-everywhere bracelet, or suspended from a contemporary gold torque. She is attracted to unusual shapes, fancy cuts and interesting positioning – such as the 4.20-carat kite-shaped natural diamond set at an angle in a chunky gold cocktail ring. “For me there is endless creativity when using a single stone – you’d be surprised at how many different ways a piece can come to life, even when you’re working with one diamond,” she says. “There is beauty in simplicity, and I really believe in the impact an incredible stone can have when it’s in the perfect setting.”
Dubai-based private jeweller Araya also plays with unusual kite-shaped diamonds, uniting a white and a brown diamond in a pair of mismatching studs. These designs are proof that beautiful natural diamonds don’t need extra frills to make an impression.