Some people will never be satisfied with a formulaic gift that doesn’t require imagination. They’re not difficult—just discerning and acutely attuned to their specific habits and style. Take your cues from the following natural diamond jewelry and watch finds. There’s something for every out-of-the-ordinary taste, no matter how quirky or chic.
While some may recoil when insects come to mind, others are entranced by the tiny creatures that creep among us. Insects have been depicted in jewelry dating back to ancient Egypt. In the Victorian Era, jewels featuring dragonfies, moths, bees, and more fourished in response to a newfound appreciation for nature. There’s no need to be a budding entomologist to appreciate their charms. Insects are often connected to powerful symbolic messages. Butterflies, with their origins as caterpillars, are said to signify transformation. Scarabs often represent protection and the life cycle, while bees are associated with diligence and cooperation. What-ever option ends up wrapped up in a bow—arachnid, bee or beetle—the gift of a diamond-laced insect jewel will generate, dare we say it, lots of buzz.
Some jewels amp up the impact of a diamond’s glow, especially those with punchy, graphic lines. Think stripes, carefully laid out grids, or playfully pixelated patterns. With the pairing of bright, colorless diamonds and contrasting colors like sultry black or vivid red, these pieces have a modern, pop attitude, whether they’re century-old antiques or fresh finds from the latest high jewelry collections (just the thing for the creatively inclined), Boucheron made an impact with its recent launch of one-off jewels that look like 2D creations plucked from a Lichtenstein canvas. The standout jewel was an oversized bow—a brooch/hair accessory that was part debutante/ part Beatnik with alternating lines of diamonds and black stripes. An assemblage of rings from Lizzie Mandler in black and white diamonds shows off the stacking band concept in a whole new light and Chanel created a sharp black ceramic and white diamond watch with stark, futuristic beauty.
Is there anything more nostalgic than childhood memories of gathering shells along the seashore? Inveterate beach bunnies can recapture that spirit whenever they please with a jewel featuring an unmistakable shell motif. Just like hunting for the perfect specimen along the beach, it may take some searching to find the right piece; there’s a diverse array of options, like the spiraling nautilus, the rounded cowrie, or the frilly scallop shell. The latest high jewelry collection from Tiffany & Co. makes a departure from the heritage of one of its mainstay designers, Jean Schlumberger, who looked to the sea for inspiration. Some designers duplicate the shape of shells in precious metals, highlighting their forms with diamonds that dance along their surfaces like sea spray. Other jewelers incorporate genuine shells into their designs, bringing an authentic bit of the beach to even the most landlocked of jewelry collectors.
The sun belt is hot in more ways than one. Occupying a unique space in the American imagination, its frontier with an expansive, uncrowded landscape remains a major part of its attraction. Its recent up-tick in popularity, with an influx of relocations to the sunny climate, has reawakened consciousness of its most iconic symbols—a mix derived from Indigenous cultures and cowboy life that comes with the territory. When interpreted in natural diamond jewelry, they can serve as talismans that project a distinct sense of place. A gold crescent moon pendant takes on the texture of the tooled leather found on a fine saddle, and a pair of diamond studs with the silhouette of leaping horses reinvents a jewelry staple with lots of local flavor. Go over the top in a jumbo diamond horseshoe pendant or swingy fringe earrings that give Dolly Parton vibes.
If someone on your gift list despairs at being born too late for Woodstock, always plays the Hair soundtrack and swears by bell bottoms as a style staple, then you know they covet diamond jewelry to match their Age of Aquarius outlook. There’s no shortage of current designs tapping into the hippiedom of the 1960s and ‘70s. A diamond daisy-embellished locket evokes the glory days of flower power. A yin-yang pendant awash in tie-dye enamel is a reminder of the spirituality and DIY artistic impulses that were hallmarks of the time. Mushrooms and mood rings are making a comeback, but they reached their peak in public consciousness during psychedelic days gone by. Even the iconic smiley logo debuted during the same stretch of the 20th century. That optimistic face shines even brighter when paved in brilliant diamonds. Diamond-dappled peace sign earrings were unmistakably inspired by predecessors that came a half-century before, sending a message that transcends time and is just as relevant as ever.
It’s the 50th anniversary of the music that was born in the rec room of a Bronx apartment building and now tops charts everywhere. Hip-hop is more than a sound: It’s a culture with a distinctly extravagant, streetwise look, with artists often stacking up as many diamond jewels as a body can hold – grillz, heaps of chains, and too many rings to count. More than accessories, they’re a flex that conveys success and showmanship. It’s an art of adornment that’s full of bravado. Any hardcore hip-hop head will want to get in on the act. Think oversized hoops splashed with hundreds of diamonds, a name-plate necklace, or a jumbo link bracelet. And as most lyrics will tell you, an iced-out watch is necessary to stand out in a musical genre whose time has come.