There is a reason jewelry designer Lorraine Schwartz never leaves home without stacks of her signature diamond-studded Evil Eye and 2B Happy smiley face bracelets on her wrists: “They are my good luck charms,” she says, “and they make me smile.” Celebrities such as Blake Lively and Kim Kardashian have also been spotted in Schwartz’s symbolic natural diamond charms. More than ever it seems, people are searching for jewelry infused with meaning—wearable symbols that offer inspiration, comfort, and maybe even, good karma.
Since the beginning of time, every culture has adorned themselves in talismans to attract protection and healing, or to serve as symbols of faith and love. Natural diamonds are heralded as especially significant stones. Ancient Greeks called diamonds, adamas (invincible), as they believed the stones imbued strength upon the wearer. Ancient Romans considered diamonds to be fragments of stars, fallen from the heavens. And Hindus believe diamonds may play a role in activating the Sahasrara (the crown chakra), which unites the mind with the body.
The trend towards symbolic and sentimental jewelry coincides with our desire for deeper meaning and connection. Not surprisingly, diamonds are at the forefront of the movement. People find hope in diamonds during challenging times. These deeply symbolic gems express and celebrate what we treasure most of all, love and friendship. As a pure, spiritual icon, diamonds hold lasting value and significance. We wear diamonds on our skin, carry them with us, and pass them between generations.
“In turbulent times there is a perceived comfort and safety that people derive from talismans and protective charms,” says Will Kahn, Jewelry Director for online marketplace Moda Operandi. Crosses, evil eyes, Catholic saint charms, the star of David and zodiac signs are all what he calls “comfort jewels.” Additionally, sentimental pieces such as nameplates and engraved pendants connect people to family and loved ones. Some of Kahn’s favorite jewels are evil eye charms from Lito Fine Jewelry, which the Greek designer frames in diamonds and sets in “cool geometric” earrings or pendants; Kimberly McDonald’s delicately carved buddha pendants with diamond accents; and Foundrae’s protective and meaningful charms inspired by a mix of religions and cultures.
Stylish, Superstitious and Symbolic
The evil eye has long been embraced by jewelry designers, from Aaron Basha’s diamond and blue enamel charms to Robinson Pelham’s gold and diamond evil eye rings. The age-old universal symbol is believed to guard us from misfortune, and it’s become a fashionable favorite too. “As babies, we would have the evil eye pin on our stroller and as adults we have hamsa ornaments in our homes,” says Regine Basha of Aaron Basha in New York. The hamsa is an ancient Middle Eastern amulet symbolizing the hand of God and believed to bring the wearer happiness, health and good fortune. Basha’s newest designs feature diamond-covered hamsas in rose, yellow or white gold.
“Energy radiates off of everything, so my goal is to design jewelry that makes the wearer feel positive so that they, in turn, will attract even more good vibes,” Basha says. “And we can all use that right now!”
Los Angeles designer Jennifer Meyer, a favorite of the celebrity set, has created a series of good luck-attracting pieces set with natural diamonds, including four-leaf clover drop earrings and pendants, a hamsa pendant necklace, and her popular good luck gold pendant emblazoned with various talismans such as a horseshoe, the Ohm symbol and the No. 13. Festooned in an array of sparkling diamonds, Cathy Waterman’s gold fairy pendant necklace is an enchanting good luck charm.
For her latest collection, Indian designer Ananya Malhotra features a diamond interpretation of each of the seven chakras. “I have always been fascinated by chakras and energy, and their symbolic effect on the human mind and body,” Malhotra says. “Our Scatter collection represents the movement of energy between the root and the crown chakras. The fluidity and the forms in the collection are inspired by the concept of metaphysical energy and movements, and the collection uses diamonds, emeralds, rubies and blue sapphires graduating to white diamonds to epitomize the flow of energy from the ground up.”
Make it Personal
Personalized jewelry is becoming more creative. Among the most novel designs are Irene Neuwirth’s gold pendant necklaces with handpainted diamond-framed images of her clients’ dogs. These bespoke pieces keep you connected with your furry loved ones wherever you go. Moda Operandi’s Will Kahn counts the pendant as one of his personal favorites.
Even classic pieces such as lockets, signet rings and nameplates have made a big comeback—thanks to distinctive diamond-studded styles engraved with words of passion, good luck and encouragement. Portrait photographer-turned-jewelry designer Monica Rich Kosann is known for her personalized lockets, which clients customize with beloved sayings, images and gemstones. One of the designer’s favorite mottos, carpe diem (seize the day), is inscribed on the underside of her pave diamond poesy bracelet.
The most original personalized pieces are oftentimes contemporary versions of vintage designs. London-based designer Diane Kordas’ Amulette collection reintroduces the ancient practice of wearing a meaningful perfume close to one’s heart. She created a series of diamond vials on long gold chains that may be filled with a person’s favorite scent, or a scent reminiscent of a loved one. “My perfume amulet allows the wearer to connect with their lover or partner through the scent held inside,” says Kordas. “Scent is linked to our emotional system, which makes each piece personal.”
Kordas’ Animal Kingdom collection highlights symbolic animals like the bull, which she says may bring the wearer strength. “Each piece is intensely personal to the wearer.”
Symbolic and sentimental jewelry is a timeless mode of self-expression and storytelling. It’s also, now more than ever, a beautiful way to bear a sign of hope for oneself and for others.
For more Fall 2020 natural diamond jewelry trends, click here.