De Beers has been synonymous with natural diamonds for well over a century. Founded in 1888, the brand’s enviable array of fine and high jewelry creations has a positive, celebratory and playful feel about them. Taking inspiration from its enduring legacy, De Beers spins some serious magic: time-honored skills and techniques are married to resonate with special moments in time and capture wholeheartedly the intrinsic beauty of the natural stone. The gorgeous designs effortlessly meld classic style with modern aesthetics, emotion with expression and enhance both the beauty and the brilliance of natural diamonds. De Beers, one might agree, is a perfect earthly ambassador for nature’s wondrous creation – natural diamond.
For Grace Lepard, Head of Design since 2019 at De Beers Jewellers, diamonds have always been the muse. Lepard, who joined the brand in 2014, has a deep appreciation of its heritage, which in turn provides her with abundant inspiration material. “We draw back on over 130 years of diamond expertise and our goal is to share this with our clients and guide them on their journey of diamond discovery, regardless of their age and style.” Clearly, the love of natural diamonds seems entwined in her creative DNA.
In Conversation with Grace Lepard, Head of Designs, De Beers Jewellers:
How does one mix and match the De Beers pieces featured in the campaign?
Our intention with all of De Beers’ jewelry designs is to make them as versatile to the wearer as possible. The pieces have been designed to be worn alone or in combination, giving clients the opportunity to personalize and mix and match depending on their mood. For instance, a client might decide to wear one of their Aura studs only, for an edgier, asymmetrical look. Similarly, they might decide to wear both on one ear to create a ‘climber’ aesthetic. The options are endless.
What is your signature De Beers go-to look for daily wearable and glamorous red-carpet style?
My recommendation for a daily wearable style would be a mixture of pieces from the Dewdrop collection. Although the designs are made up of delicate components, the overall look is quite striking and bold. A particular favorite piece of mine is the Dewdrop bangle, which acts as a diamond disco ball of light when you hold it up to the light. Whether you team the pieces with an evening dress or a bold leather jacket, they are extremely feminine and elegant. Additionally, they have been designed to be worn alone or paired with other stackable bangles depending on your mood.
For something timeless and elegant for a glamorous evening or red carpet, I would recommend the Arpeggia high jewelry collection. The five-line earrings are a particular favorite of mine and are extremely complimentary with an up hair do. For those after something bolder with a hint of color, I would recommend the Vulcan necklace from the Diamond Legends Collection. Featuring a mirage of coloured rough and polished diamonds, the necklace is a real showstopper.
How important are natural diamonds to you?
Natural diamonds are particularly important to me because of the mythological, historical and spiritual symbolism behind them. As well as being symbols of eternal love, diamonds have long been with associated with different stories and meanings.
Tell us about your first ever diamond memory
When I first started at De Beers, I worked on a bespoke request involving a fancy green diamond. This diamond’s color and cut were absolutely amazing and it had an incredible life to it. After all these years, I still remember it, which reinforces the rarity and preciousness of natural colored diamonds.
How has the slogan ‘A Diamond Is Forever’ shaped the brand’s philosophy and design parameters?
The slogan ‘A Diamond is Forever’ originated in 1947 and was written by female copywriter Frances Gerety for De Beers. It’s said that she was working late into the night when she had her light bulb moment and jotted down those four, iconic words. Gerety’s slogan is timeless, effortless, simple yet bold and most importantly, has the diamond at the heart of its message. It is these principles that we adhere to in our jewelry pieces, always ensuring the designs are iconic, have an air of elegance about them and of course feature our diamond muse at the forefront.
What’s your take on diamonds and love in the modern world?
Over the past years, the industry has seen an increase in self-purchasing amongst women. Diamond jewelry is not something you save for special occasions anymore, but something you wear every day and never take off. With this shift, styles have become more modern, versatile and an expression of each wearer’s personal sense of style. For example, diamond jewelry that can take you from day-to-night, like our Horizon necklace that transforms from a long pendant into a choker with a simple touch.
“Being able to stack and detach jewelry pieces to suit different occasions and moods is crucial and ultimately, this has had an impact on the way I design.”
Women are now self-purchasing promise/engagement rings. How is De Beers encouraging this shift?
In the past few years, we have definitely noticed an increase in the number of couples who make a mutual decision to get married together and consequently, the rise of self-purchases by women. Clients want the selection of their diamond engagement ring to be a memorable, collaborative and immersive experience, one that they will remember and cherish forever. As a result of this, we are encouraging clients to be more involved in the design process to ensure their jewelry pieces express their individual sense of style, are versatile to their lifestyle needs and most importantly, special enough that they never want to take them off.
Are natural diamonds still a symbol of everlasting love?
Finding the person you want to spend your life with is not an easy feat and when you do find that special someone it’s important to celebrate that milestone with a gemstone worthy of that moment. With their history and symbolism, rarity, incomparable hardness and beauty we see natural diamonds as symbols of permanence and therefore, the perfect gemstone to signify a couples long-lasting commitment to one another. Additionally, their various forms (from rough to polished,) cuts and colors gives you the freedom to find the diamond that best reflects your personality and sense of style.
Do cufflinks figure as a popular love gift?
Of course! I think any jewellery piece given with the right sentiment behind it can be given as a love gift. Diamonds, the ultimate symbols of eternal endurance, are the central heroes of our creations, and consequently, any piece from us, cufflinks or the like, is an everlasting jewelry piece that safeguards memories forever.
Do you see a greater fondness for Hoop styles now than earlier?
I definitely think the increasing number of styles on the market has rejuvenated people’s interest in them. To me, hoop earrings have the same status as the little black dress, simple yet iconic and ever-changing to reflect the times.
“To me, hoop earrings have the same status as the little black dress – simple yet iconic and ever-changing to reflect the times.”
Whilst they have always been popular, the number of people wanting to express themselves through jewelry has increased and designs have become more daring and exciting as a result! Being able to stack and detach jewelry pieces to suit different occasions and moods is crucial and ultimately, this has had an impact on the way I design. An example of this is the Talisman single hoop earrings. Designed with a detachable charm, they can be worn as a pair or individually giving the client the freedom to style them as they wish.