Anyone who is lucky enough to have pets knows the unmistakable bond that is formed between human and animal. Our two- and four-legged companions embrace many roles in our lives, from family member to protector to confidante (they are great secret keepers). Celebrating their irreplaceable place in our hearts only makes sense, and the ultimate way to do so is with a beautiful piece of natural diamond jewelry. Whether it’s a self-purchase or a thoughtful token to bestow upon the pet lover in your life, these special trinkets are sure to make an impression. From vintage-inspired gems to bespoke pieces punctuated with natural diamonds, pay homage to your pet or the pet lovers in your life with one of these diamond jewelry pieces many of which are rooted in antique influence and destined to be sentimental heirlooms.
In the 19th century, mourning jewelry became de rigeur after Queen Victoria accessorized her all-black ensembles with rich jewels to commemorate her dearly departed Prince Albert. In addition to jet and onyx, romantic symbols (hearts and moons were prevalent), and locks of hair preserved in pendants or brooches, tributes to the deceased came in the form of bejeweled mini portraits.
“When people think of vintage jewelry, their mind often goes to the cameo,” explains jeweler Jacquie Aiche. “I always knew I wanted to redesign these classics, with portraits and motifs that imbue the energy of the JA tribe, but still carry the romantic, ethereal appeal that cameos are known for.”
As such, Aiche’s cameo collection (which counts Rihanna as a fan) centers around unexpected motifs including Nefertiti, zodiacs, mystical unicorns, and a fluffy Persian kitten that will delight any feline fan. “Each piece is uniquely beautiful, carved by hand into agate and framed with graduated diamonds,” says Aiche. “I loved the idea of adding in an element of shine–the diamonds seamlessly blend these pieces with the other layers in your collection that you never take off.”
Now, of course, you can wear gorgeous jewelry honoring your furry friend, whether they’ve crossed into animal heaven or not. Channel the Victorians and Georgians by commissioning a custom cameo. Drawing inspiration from antique lover’s eye jewelry that traces to the late 18th century, AnaKatarina’s dreamy Eye Love collection is meticulously hand-carved from Brazilian blue agate and set with a halo of diamonds and sapphires. Personalize your own with the mesmerizing eye of your adored cat or dog.
Another way to keep your pet close to your heart is through a meaningful pendant. Turn to Monica Rich Kosann’s signature designs to tell your own personal story. A diamond-studded paw print medallion makes a wonderful addition to any charm necklace or bracelet. The designer herself has the piece on her own bracelet: “I have the names of all our dogs from over the years engraved on the back,” Kosann says. “The diamonds just express how precious our furry friends are to us.”
Go the classic route and fill a gold and diamond locket with favorite photos—if you have multiple pets, opt for one that holds two or more images to give each equal play time. “I have helped my customers put cats, horses, and, believe it or not, a pig once,” Kosann shares of her lockets. “Animals are a part of everyone’s family.”
For a fresh twist on a jewelry box mainstay, London-based Loquet specializes in sweet petite charms encased in diamond and gemstone-trimmed holders. Choose from a host of symbols to build your own personal combination that tells your pet love story (there’s a darling new cat capsule) or send the brand a picture of your pet for a custom charm.
“Diamonds are tremendously incorporated throughout my designs; whether it’s a single stone on one of our charms or a diamond-encrusted locket, they make our pieces feel that much more special,” explains Sheherazade Goldsmith, founder of Loquet, who keeps a gold and diamond charm of her dog Shady. “I have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t melt, just a little, over diamonds.”
Want a truly spectacular keepsake that is as one-of-a-kind as your pet? Have their likeness recreated as a regal portrait that doubles as wearable art.
London-based Cece Fein Hughes of Cece Jewellery is an art historian-turned-jeweler with a talent for ethereal, tattoo-inspired paintings. Allow her to reimagine your favorite animal as a fairy tale character before the sketch is brought to life as a hand-engraved and enameled pendant or signet ring accented with star-set diamonds.
Ask any jewelry aficionado who is also a pet parent what’s on their wish list, and chances are Irene Neuwirth’s colorful (and covetable) pet portrait pendants hold a top spot.
“Those who know me know how much I love animals, especially my dogs and horses,” shares Neuwirth. “I met an artist and commissioned them to create a treasure with an image of Teddy, my beloved labradoodle.” Set against vibrant opal, lustrous mother of pearl or abalone, the intricate designs get the designer’s trademark playful spin with rainbow-hued gemstones crowning the imaginative illustrations.
“I love whimsical jewelry and the idea of mixing unpredictable things together, so framing these carved crystal paintings with diamonds seemed like a wonderful idea!” she enthuses. “People love their pets—why not capture them on a piece of jewelry that will last forever?” Our dogs, cats, birds, bunnies, et al. may not be able to speak, but we’d bet they’d be tickled to know they are immortalized in sparkling diamonds.