These discreet natural diamonds are glowy, not showy. Quiet Luxury is fashion’s buzzy idiom that describes the new wave of luxe minimalism. But it’s more than just a low-key style, it’s an attitude that’s here to stay. It’s about making considered investment purchases that will stand the test of time. And we can all get behind that.
The Quiet Luxury trend is getting a big boost from the wildly successful Succession HBO series, which chronicles the ultra-wealthy Roy’s battle over the family’s fortune. In its fourth season, the ruthless Roys are dressed in understated monotone clothes and logo-free accessories, but if you know, you know. Their stealth wealth appears low key yet those layers of neutral-toned Brunello Cucinelli cashmere, Lanvin sneakers, and Loro Piana baseball caps have hefty price tags. Quiet Luxury is part of their power play.
That brings us to a new wave of Quiet Luxury natural diamonds. I’m not talking about small layering pieces; these are relatively large, important, and rare diamonds that Succession’s female lead Shiv Roy would likely wear (but you wouldn’t notice).
Take Lorraine Schwartz’s stunning 10-carat D flawless portrait cut diamond ring. The super-thin diamond is void of a stone’s typical sparkle and appears like a shard of glass, but in fact, it has a seven-figure price tag.
These diamonds are worth more than anyone would guess. If you want an important natural diamond but prefer something subtle, one of the best options is portrait cuts. Top-quality portrait cuts are rare because they require a specific type of fine rough to create the clean shape. Another option is beautiful heirloom diamonds that emit a softer glow compared to many of the modern radiant cuts.
“The new luxury is more discreet,” said Corina Madilian, whose brand Single Stone is a favorite for couples who want unique engagement rings and women looking for big diamonds set in everyday jewelry styles. “People are considering how they want to spend their money, and they like the idea of buying less but better.” That means sizable vintage diamonds (which these days, she says, is 2 carats and up) in toned-down settings.
What makes old European cuts more low key? Vintage diamonds are glowy not showy. They were cut over a century ago before electricity and before diamond cutters used precision mathematics to maximize a stone’s refractory qualities. “These stones were meant to be at their best in candlelight,” says Sylva Yepremian, founder and designer of Sylva & Cie, who favors large old cut stones in her contemporary creations. “They tend to be somewhat less refractive, but this twinkle effect is part of their unique charm.”
That captivating charm inspired designer Brent Neale to start hunting for great vintage stones. She spent more than a year collecting 38 old mine cut diamonds, some dating to the 1700s, for her new Diamond Pillow necklace. “Because they are imperfect cuts, they give off a glow and warmth that is magical and just magnificent,” she says.
“The coolest thing about old mine and old European cut diamonds is that no one would really know how much your piece cost it’s way more undercover,” says Neale.
Vintage and heirloom diamonds have an added bonus: they are recycled. It’s recasting diamonds that had another life and in many cases those stones carry sentimental value. But diamonds are inherently recyclable: They are the hardest substance known to man; they can be recast again and again in new iterations for every generation.
That’s one reason more people are requesting vintage diamonds at Material Good, the New York retailer known for its cool and stylish diamond jewelry and watches. “We love sourcing antique stones for our clients to create something really special,” says Teresa Panico, head of marketing. Material Good builds a design around each unique diamond. “These diamonds have a unique story and their own special characteristics.”
The most discreet natural diamond appears like a simple shard of glass, but a portrait-cut diamond is one of the most difficult styles to achieve. It requires exceptional rough stones because you can’t conceal any flaws, and only the most skilled cutters can execute a top-quality portrait cut.
“The portrait cut diamonds have an understated fire and shine,” says Vishal Kothari of Vak Jewels, who uses elegant floral designs and rings with barely a trace of the metal setting showing.
“They are more of a whisper than a shout,” says Kothari. Some of his ethereal designs give the appearance of the diamond floating on the skin.
The trend might be minimalist in style, but the diamond remains the focal point. “People want big, beautiful rings and tennis-style bracelets,” says Madilian. “But they don’t want the embellishment; they want simpler settings and often request heavier and sturdier bezel settings that work with a more casual lifestyle.” To that end, more women are looking for simple pendant necklaces, but with a 2 to 3-carat diamond drop.
So, if you are questioning, can a 5-carat diamond really be Quiet Luxury? In a low-key diamond cut and minimalist design, we think the answer is yes.