Diamonds were first discovered in Western Australia in 1979 by 30 year-old geologist Maureen Muggeridge (1948-2010). In July of that year, while six months pregnant with her first child, Muggeridge found diamond samples in flood plains surrounding Smoke Creek, which fed into Lake Argyle. To steer rival geologists away, her team planted rumors that Muggeridge was on maternity leave while she raced to trace the diamond source to the headwaters of Smoke Creek.
After the Argyle Claim was established, this area became prominent as the world’s largest known diamond deposit, yielding superb stones in white and golden hues, along with pink, violet, yellow, gray, brown and black diamonds. The Argyle deposit is currently owned by Rio Tinto.
Now, Australian diamonds sparkle as the basis of new collections by six of the most acclaimed women jewelry designers in the world. Each one of them present their luxurious Diamonds With a Story jewelry lines:
This project is Ana Khouri’s first experience with Australian diamonds. “To have the opportunity to create pieces with Australian diamonds discovered by a woman geologist is momentous,” says the New York-based designer.
In her highly sculptural designs, Khouri used 18 different hues of diamonds to create colorful, dramatically proportioned pieces that also embody negative space. For example, her “Mirian” 18K white gold ring design sparkles with 2.39 carats of white, champagne, golden, pale pink and coffee-colored diamonds that encircle the finger in a classic, stirrup-like shape, leaving the knuckle joint exposed.
“Creating pieces with Australian diamonds was all about taking traditional pieces and reimagining them for today’s women in the most organic way possible,” says Khouri. Hence, the chic contrast Khouri’s clustered colored diamonds reveals against bare skin, which creates an irresistibly elegant allure.
For Nepalese-born and New York resident Arpana RayamajhI, designing with Australian diamonds offered the chance to create her first-ever fine jewelry line. While some of Rayamajhi designs combine diamonds with enameled flowers and leaves, others involve 18K gold, diamond-studded hands, each of which holds a precious diamond.
“I used light golden and darker brown hues to highlight the jump in contrast between the many colors of Australian diamonds,” says Rayamajhi. “I wanted to show a range of colors, so I used dark and lighter diamonds to create depth and to harmonize with the colored enameling in my designs.”
As a highly color-driven designer, working with the golden, brown and white hues of Australian diamonds is a dream come true for Rayamajhi.
Alison Lou/Alison Chemla
New York-based Alison Chemla of Alison Lou based her Diamonds With a Story collection on some of her best-selling styles, many of which involve words and titles such as “Mrs.” created in her custom font.
The color, cut and clarity of Australian diamonds, “elevate my designs and allow me to create beautiful handset diamond pieces at a more accessible price point”, says Lou. Equally important, customers can personalize what they wear, “whether it’s a Mrs. ring, a Word bracelet, or a necklace bearing initials,” highlights Lou. The bright golden hues of Australian diamonds “have a nice warmth to them,” she adds, while also radiating light and sparkle.
For decades, diamonds have been animating the symbolically embellished, richly textured collections of Greek-born designer Ileana Makri. Makri responded to “the distinct light and beautiful natural color” of Australian diamonds “by reinterpreting five of my most iconic pieces: the Diamond Shield, Cobra, Havana and Dawn rings plus the Again earrings,” says Makri.
In business in Greece since 1996, Makri has gained a sizable following for skillfully set diamond pave and micro-pave pieces embodying talismanic imagery with an appeal that goes beyond borders and cultures. For example, while her Evil Eye Dawn ring and Cobra ring possess strong symbolic meanings, “that speak a universal language,” says Makri, “Australian diamonds make these symbols stand out and give them life,” she adds.
From the palest gold to the richest, warmest browns, New York-based Eva Fehren selected a wide range of Australian diamonds set in 18K rose gold for her minimalist Diamonds with a Story capsule collection.
“I wanted to create a collection that created an ombré effect using the various tones of these special stones,” she explains. “Australian diamonds hold so much beauty and light, so I created pieces that featured these qualities, and the jewels almost appear as if shadows are being cast over them from above.” Fehren’s iconic, geometric and minimal silhouettes enhance and highlight the beauty of Australian diamonds.
Having only worked previously with pink Australian diamonds, Los Angeles designer Anita Ko says, “I love the way light-colored golden Australian diamonds look when set in rose gold. Australian diamonds offer customers my look, my quality, plus high-quality diamonds for a slightly better price, yet they look very similar to high-quality, high color-graded white diamonds.”
Another factor influencing Ko’s love of Australian diamonds is that a woman geologist found the source of the stones making possible Diamonds with a Story and, of course, so many other great jewels. “Learning that Maureen Muggeridge claimed the Argyle Diamond deposit is extremely inspiring to me,” she adds.
Ko’s designs include post-punk diamond safety pin earrings weighing in at .46 carats each, a classic diamond chain link bracelet of 2.9 carats and a slender .12 carat diamond ear cuff.
Along with their beauty and ethical origins, however, Australian diamonds embody the important women’s histories of Muggeridge as well as the six female designers who created these collections.
Besides being an aesthetic success, the Australian Diamonds with a Story collaboration also represents a life-changing experience, woman-empowered undertaking, and luxury diamond jewelry project that’s destined to add beautiful meaning and value to many customer’s lives.