Engagements, festivals, life milestones — once upon a time, natural diamonds were only saved for special occasions. But today, these extravagant jewels have become modern and wearable with fresh cuts and novel settings. How? By merging high-end craftsmanship with street-savvy style.
Some of the biggest jewellery moments of contemporary pop culture are a testament to this change. Case in point, in 2020, Megan Thee Stallion spent a reported $425,000 on a one-off ‘Hot Girl’ necklace with 155 carats of diamonds by Elliot Eliante — the same jeweller who recently designed a diamond-encrusted Playboy chain for Cardi B.
Rihanna paired Bulgari with London-based Nigerian jeweller Thelma West at the 2021 Met Gala. And in 2018, Tiffany & Co announced A$AP Ferg as its newest brand ambassador. Cut to 2022, Jay-Z and Beyoncé took to the screen for the Tiffany & Co’s About Love campaign — all while frosted in hundreds of carats of diamonds.
The Diamonds Next Door Interestingly, all of these styles first took their cues from groups with modest backgrounds and eccentric flamboyance. Now, these sparkling jewels, ranging from chains of Cuban links and “truck” style necklaces to diamond-dipped rings and grills have become a cornerstone of fashion and luxury, and form an essential part of the cultural and aesthetic dialogue about art, music, and politics.
Award-winning fashion designer Nachiket Barve says, “Street style isn’t about breaking the passage of time — it’s about adapting to it. It’s no doubt that everyday fashion has become edgier, thanks to the influence of hip-hop music on diamonds. You’ll see celebrities like Rihanna dressing up in a tracksuit and mixing it with a statement diamond cuff or stacks of diamond necklaces. It’s about mixing high and low fashion and adding athleisure to your everyday looks.”
A New Sartorial Identity This cultural shift has resulted in diamonds as a testament to one’s individual identity — and the way you choose them reflects your personality. Its elegance and casual glamour mean it can be worn just as easily with a hoodie and track pants to simple T-shirts and tank tops — making it one of the most versatile jewels to have in your arsenal.
Nachiket adds, “There was a time when we might have saved beautiful diamonds for the best moments of your life. But, diamonds are no longer stuffy or limited only to certain occasions. The new generation of fashion aficionados is inspiring a change in mindset. Street style has helped break down these old rules and reshape the diamond jewellery landscape. You can let your jewels be an extension of your personality.”
Stylist Jahnvi Bansal, who has styled Bollywood megastars like Ranveer Singh along with editorials for magazines like Vogue, agrees, “There’s been a wave of change in fashion. Streetwear isn’t just about basics anymore. Many brands are doing interesting silhouettes, and that has had an impact on the way people wear diamond jewellery as well. Diamond and fine jewellery have paved the way into everyday wardrobes.”
Sparkle — All Day, Every Day When it comes to jewellery for every day, diamonds stand the test of time. To create a signature look, think of your diamonds as your jewellery chameleons. Whether it’s a natural diamond ring with a show-stopping central stone, hoop earrings in playful proportions, or a diamond-lined watch, these treasured pieces help any outfit feel instantly elevated.
Jahnvi says, “I’ve been investing in diamond jewels that I can wear through the day and night. Plus, experimentation has become the new norm. I like to buy timeless diamond pieces which can be a part of my daily look but styled unconventionally. Think beyond the traditional ear lobe when it comes to earrings and create eye-catching earscapes on unexpected piercement placement. Personalised pendants and precious pieces are trendy and wearable too.”
From hip-hop jewellery that tells the story of diversity and inclusivity to performers who have harnessed the power of these sparkling stones to their stories, if there’s one thing for sure, it’s that diamonds have gone beyond bling, status, and wealth. They have become the anchors of identity, personal style, and power. And, street-inspired fashion has helped embolden its spirit.